1. Don’t just assume you’re going to gain weight this holiday season, and throw in the towel. The average American gains 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Now, if you don’t work any of it off, this accumulates to 20 pounds per decade. BUT, consider this. Two pounds equals 7,000 calories. If you can focus on burning 200 extra calories per day this season (or eating 200 fewer calories) you won’t have to spend January “making up for December”. Instead, you’ll have the chance to positively move forward with a wholesome nutrition plan and an exercise regimen in place.
2. Don’t skimp on traditions. Just include some new activities to the mix! For instance, my big family bundles up and goes on a post-Christmas-feast walk (3 miles to be exact, but anything is better than nothing!) We also add great and tasty nutrient-dense alternatives to some of the extra caloric, yet nothing-good-to-offer-your-body dishes. This year we added a Kale & Brussels sprouts salad and Asparagus, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. It’s great having some light bites to accompany the heavier ones.
3.Don’t skip meals. Example: Skipping lunch ‘cause you know you’re “going to eat 10 pigs-in-a-blanket at the office party”. We’ve all done it, but skipping meals only leads to overindulgence. Instead, follow your normal eating schedule, including wholesome foods and a snack before leaving the house. You’ll still get to enjoy your traditional favorites without feeling like a ravenous vulture.
4. Don’t park yourself in front of the buffet table for the night. Find somewhere to socialize away from the table of food. It’s remarkable how much more you’ll eat at a holiday party by standing at the buffet table all night.
5. Don’t remember the indulgence dish and forget the nutritious one. For every plate of indulgence, bring a platter of fruit kabobs or a veggie tray.
6. Don’t let the cold weather get the best of you. There are plenty of ways to exercise indoors. At VIDA, group fitness classes are extremely motivational. When stuck at home, workout DVD’s are a quick and thorough way to burn calories without stepping into the cold.
7. Don’t forget to plan ahead. Keep ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to help curb those cravings and keep you full. (Sliced bell peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes, celery, snap peas, strawberries, mango, cantaloupe, grapes, apples, and bananas.) Dip veggies in hummus or yogurt dip if you don’t enjoy them plain.
8. Don’t deprive yourself. It’s the holidays! Deprivation is not natural, nor is it fun. Yes, we all have our goals, but that doesn’t mean “run as fast as you can to the side of the spectrum where you don’t eat anything but fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains at Christmas”. In fact, once you decide that deprivation is not the answer, being healthy becomes attainable and more realistic.
9. Don’t forget about the Plate. When planning all your traditional meals and celebrations, be mindful of USDA’S My Plate model, and make your meal look at least a little more like it!
Eat This, Not That
*Beef Tenderloin: 328 calories, 14 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat
Prime Rib: 806 calories, 54 grams fat, 29 grams saturated fat
*Herb Roasted Potatoes: 100 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat m
Loaded baked Potato: 400 calories, 14 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat
*Chocolate Fondue: 340 calories, 10 grams fat, 20 grams sugar
Pecan Pie: 610 calories, 45 grams fat, 15 grams saturated fat, 32 grams sugar
*Hot Chocolate: 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 15 grams sugar
Eggnog: 350 calories, 19 grams fat, 22 grams sugar