Holidays often mean parties and family gatherings, which usually includes lots of high calorie food and drinks. Although it’s common to fear holiday weight gain, most people who gain weight only gain a pound or two, according to the National Institutes of Health. Although a couple of pounds may not seem like anything to worry about, even small weight gain can have a negative impact on your health. Additionally, bad eating habits during the holidays may carry over into the New Year and lead to additional problems. Consider some of the strategies below to prevent holiday weight gain.
Watch Grazing and Portion Size
It’s easy to be unaware of how much you are grazing during the holidays. Between snacking on appetizers at parties and grabbing cookies at the office, grazing can add up to a lot of extra calories. Additionally, it can be easy to eat portion sizes that are too large, but there are things you can do to prevent overindulgence.
- Limit taste testing when baking. Holiday baking is a tradition for many. You don’t have to stop cooking or baking in order to prevent weight gain. For example, instead of sampling everything you make before meals, take just a bit or two.
- Keep a food journal. Consider writing down everything you eat, even if it is just a bite. By keeping track of everything, you may be surprised at how much you really do eat.
- Stick to a few rules. If holiday grazing is a problem for you, consider making a few rules and sticking to them. For instance, make it a rule to take just one cookie, treat or drink and then stop.
Find Time for Exercise
Exercise is an excellent way to help prevent weight gain anytime of the year. Although your schedule may get a bit busier during the holidays, finding the time to workout is essential to maintain good health.
If you already have an established exercise routine, stick to it as much as possible. For those who don’t exercise on a regular basis, considering starting a workout plan. Although some people choose to wait to start their exercise program until after the New Year, there really is no reason to put off exercise until after the holidays. Not only will exercise help combat weight gain, but it can be a great stress reducer during one of the most hectic times of the year.
Finding time to exercise can often be a challenge, especially during busy times, such as the holidays, but there are ways to stay on track. Schedule your workouts, just as you schedule your other appointments. According to the Cleveland Clinic, aim for about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. Need a way to find time to exercise and get that holiday shopping out of the way? Try combining the two with these shopping mall workouts.
Types Of Foods And Drinks To Limit
The holidays may be filled with all types of family recipes and fattening foods, which can contribute to weight gain. By limiting certain foods, you can reduce the chances you’ll gain weight during the holiday season. Avoid foods cooked in oil and cream sauces, which can add hundreds of calories to a dish. Although sugary desserts, such as pies, custards and cookies, are often part of holiday fare, limit yourself to a few bites. Also, skip snacking on munchies, such as nuts, chips and dips while visiting with friends and family.
In addition to limiting certain foods, keep in mind, various types of beverages can be packed with calories. Eggnog, hot chocolate and alcoholic drinks can all contribute to holiday weight gain.
Good Food Choices to Make
Whether you are doing the cooking or a guest, it is possible to make smart food choices around the holidays, which helps prevent weight gain. Try to eat a little protein with each meal, which will fill you up. Good choices include low fat cheese, lean roast beef and turkey. Instead of snacking on chips or other high calories snacks, nibble on veggies and low fat dip.
If you are doing the holiday cooking, try substituting high fat and calorie ingredients for lower alternatives. For example, swap out yogurt instead of sour cream. In place of oil, use cooking spray. Use low fat milk as an option to heavy cream.
Plan for Treats
You don’t always have to deprive yourself of a treat here and there. By planning ahead, you can indulge in your favorite holiday foods occasionally without the guilt or weight gain. If you know you are having a high calorie dinner, make other meals light. Consider skipping the appetizers, if you plan on having a high calorie dessert. Another way to plan ahead for holiday treats is by adding a few extra minutes of exercise to your normal routine.
Holidays seem to go hand in hand with plenty of food and drinks, but there are ways to prevent holiday weight gain. By making good food choices, limiting high calorie foods and planning ahead, you can keep your weight in check. Keep in mind; the holidays are not just about big meals and indulging in food and drinks. Remember to focus on socializing with family, friends and enjoying the spirit of the season.