The average American consumes an average 3,000 calories during a holiday meal (Source: Calorie Control Council).
It is common to overindulge over the holidays. Oftentimes, one holiday is often surrounded by numerous events, and not just celebrated on that one day (i.e. Thanksgiving or Christmas are often celebrated on multiple occasions with holiday parties and work functions throughout the “holiday season.” The holiday season is a time of the year to be grateful and celebrate life with friends and family, but are also heavily influenced by food and drink, often calorie dense and packed with salt and sugar. Whether people are feasting on honey baked ham or indulging in pumpkin pie, food and sugar-laden beverages are ubiquitous. It is common that people gain weight over the holiday season, right in time for New Year’s Resolutions, and then the cycle begins again!
As each year goes by, and people get one year older, the pounds add up gradually.
HERE ARE SOME HOLIDAY HACKS SO THAT YOU CAN STILL CELEBRATE WITH YOUR LOVED ONES, BUT ALSO FEEL WELL AND NOT SABOTAGE YOUR WAISTLINE OR HEALTH.
- Don’t go hungry! Eat a snack prior to your holiday feast
- Make sure you consume water throughout the day so that you are well hydrated
- Bring an appetizer or side that you know you will enjoy but also one that is health conscious. I.e. a fruit or vegetable platter with hummus or fresh guacamole in case there are not many options at the gathering.
- Limit the number of plates that you allow yourself (1 for appetizer, 1 for entrée, 1 for dessert). Whatever fits on each plate is all you get! That will force you to be selective in what you choose and allow you to sample a small portion of many things.
- Try to use a small dinner plate. Dinner plates have grown from the standard 9 inch plates to 11 inch plates!
- Prioritize low calorie options and consume smaller portions of calorie-dense foods i.e. load up on vegetables first so you are less likely to overindulge on much higher fat options that pack on the calories fast.
- Aim to keep your plate balanced. Half of the plate should be vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ starch (i.e. mashed potatoes, stuffing, rice etc).
- Try to choose foods that are not drenched in gravy, sauces or cheese. Instead, put the sauces and cheese on the side so that you have more control over the amount. These condiments are often very high in calories and salt. The salt increases your thirst and you are then more likely to over consume beverages that are often full of sugar.
- Try to limit calorie and sugar-laden beverages. Prioritize water. Avoid juices. For each non-water beverage you consume, pair it with 1 glass of water. That will ensure you are well hydrated and are less likely to overindulge. If you are craving something sweet, try infusing your water with citrus like fresh lemon or herbs. Limit sodas and energy drinks with your alcohol, and instead choose calorie free options like sparkling water.