[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The holiday parties and family gatherings are in full swing. The whirlwind of preparing for and partaking in the festivities can really take us off guard, no matter how many years we’ve prepared for it. You want to enjoy warmth and love of the season, but you certainly don’t want to pay for it with those extra pounds later! There are a few easy steps you can take that will help you maintain your weight without distracting you from the moment.
• Have a small healthy snack before you leave the house. Walnuts are a great choice. They’re packed with protein and fiber, making them an excellent choice for keeping hunger at bay.
• Go easy on the appetizers, choose vegetables and fruits with dip or whole-grain crackers.
• If you’re at a buffet, start on the salad end of the table. If you’re the host, put the fruit and vegetables at the beginning of the table. A recently conducted study with 124 adults asked participants to select food from two breakfast buffets. The first buffet table had fruit and other healthy foods at the front of the table with fattier foods at the end, while the second buffet had the fatty foods at the front of the table and healthy foods at the end. Both tables contained the same items.
Eighty-six percent of the participants chose fruit when it was the first item on the buffet table, compared to 54 percent who selected fruit when it was at the end of the table. They also found that the first three food items chosen from the buffet made up 66 percent of their total choices, regardless of whether the items were high or low-calorie foods.
• Try using smaller plates for your meals if they’re available! Different studies have shown that smaller plates lead to actually eating less!
• Don’t let yourself feel deprived, have a dessert or cookie, AFTER you’ve eaten a healthy meal!
Even though you’re may be much busier than usual, make time for exercise. Exercise not only helps prevent weight gain, it relieves holiday stress. Add an extra 15-minute walk or run to your fitness schedule to help offset holiday eating.
Follow these simple suggestions and support your overall goals throughout the holidays into the New Year!
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