Updated: Jul 2, 2019
It starts with Halloween, eases in to Thanksgiving, and then comes the pinnacle....Christmas! The holiday season can be challenging for those of us who are trying to keep the calories in check.
This holiday season let's eat, drink and be healthy!!
Here's my list of doable tricks to avoid piling on the extra pounds.
1. Stay hydrated!
With so much happening, we often forget to drink enough water, which could actually cause us to eat and drink more. Sometimes, our body can mistake the sensation of thirst for hunger. Not to mention failing to hydrate while drinking alcohol can cause you to drink more than you meant to and suffer a worse hangover.
Doable trick: Alternate your alcohol with glasses of water
2. Don't skip a meal to make-up for a big dinner
Skipping breakfast and lunch to indulge on extravagant meals later sounds like a good idea, but nutrition experts say it could actually harm you. This habit poses problems for both your blood sugar and your waistline. Starving yourself earlier in the day could cause you to binge on even more later.
Doable trick: Eat a well-balanced meal for breakfast and lunch before heading to your holiday dinner
3. Tweak classic holiday recipes
There are so many ways to tweak classic holiday recipes in order to cut down on sugar and empty calories and amp up the nutrients. Here are some easy options:
- cut down fats, calories, and carbs by making a crust-less pumpkin pie
- use high-protein vanilla Greek yogurt instead of whipped cream
- swapping in vitamin A–rich sweet potatoes for white potatoes
- use mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
Doable trick: opt for healthier recipes
4. Don't deprive yourself
With a large variety of dishes before you, choose wisely. Try not to eat certain dishes out of obligation, tradition, or sheer habit. Choose holiday specials over treats you eat through the year. Chocolate ice-cream....maybe no, pecan pie.....definitely yes!
Doable trick: make smart choices
5. Practice mindful eating
Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Research shows that mealtime multitasking (whether at home or at a party) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth. Of course, dinner-party conversation is only natural, but try to set your food down until you're finished chatting so you are more aware of what you're taking in.
Doable trick: Eat less, chew more
6. Smaller plates, taller glasses
Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself. What looks like a normal portion on a 12-inch plate or a trough like bowl can, in fact, be huge. In one study conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, even nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls.
The size of the serving utensil mattered, too: Subjects served themselves 57 percent more when they used a three-ounce scoop versus a smaller scoop.
Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses, not the fat, wide kind. Other studies at Cornell have shown that people are more likely to pour 30 percent more liquid into squatter vessels.
Doable trick: Take sensible portions so you don’t end up eating/drinking too much.
7. Sleep well
As mentioned earlier, starving before a big meal isn't a good idea, and with pretty much the same logic, banking sleep hours during the week in preparation for late nights out on the weekend isn't a good idea either.
Adequate sleep facilitates better stress-management and a healthy balance of hunger and satiety hormones. Inadequate sleep, may lead to changes in appetite and mood.
On the flip side, chronic high stress levels may impact the quality of sleep. It can be a vicious cycle.
Doable trick: Develop a sleep routine
So, eat, drink, sleep and be healthy!!!!! Happy Holidays everyone!!!!
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.