The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are like a battlefield littered with landmines. Turkey and all the trimmings, holiday parties, goodies left in the office kitchen, creamy eggnog, candy and cookies—all topped off with a New Year’s Eve bash. What’s a health-conscious person to do?
Here are some helpful tips:
Maintain, not gain
Admit that this time of year is not the easiest time to try to lose weight. Make your goal attainable—just try to maintain your weight. You’ll be able to treat yourself and still have a sense of accomplishment when January rolls around and you haven’t gained a pound.
Cut calories in recipes|
If you’re hosting guests, do them a favor and try to cut the calories in the food you serve. Go easy on things like nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream. Offer light appetizers, such as shrimp cocktails. Use substitutes like chicken stock in recipes.
Eat a pre-dinner party snack
Eat a healthy snack at home first. A handful of nuts, string cheese, or a few whole-grain crackers can be the difference between going to a party hungry, eating anything in sight, and taking a more moderate approach to a buffet.
Watch what you drink
Alcohol and eggnog can add unwanted calories. Try diet sodas, sparkling water, or low-calorie punch. If you do drink, select wine or beer—not heavy cocktails.
Knowing that you’ll probably eat and drink more than normal, cut calories from your everyday meals in preparation for upcoming events. And when you’re out, scan all the dishes before you start eating so you can made wise choices.
Be mindful of what you’re eating
You don’t have to write down every morsel, but keep a mental checklist of what you’re consuming and set limits.
Don’t hang out near the food. Approach the buffet with a purpose and once you have made your selections, move away. If you stay near the table, you’ll just eat because you’re there, not because you’re hungry. Make only one trip to the buffet—avoid getting “seconds.”
Don’t skip your fitness routine. With everything that you have to do to get ready for the holidays, it’s tempting to bypass the gym or your regular walk for lack of time. That’s a bad holiday habit that could easily extend into the new year.
The holidays are a wonderful time to be with family and friends—and you can enjoy these days in a healthy way. By taking a moderate approach, you can treat yourself to the goodies you may only see once a year and avoid a food hangover in 2013.
Dr. Grunden graduated from PennStateUniversityCollege of Medicine and completed his residency in family medicine at LancasterGeneralHospital. His medical interests include integrative medicine, patient education and urgent care.