By Lynn Norton, MS, RD
Barton Memorial Hospital
Here we are, in a myriad of holidays and their food celebrations.
Sounds wonderful? Yes and no. Many of us love the holidays but dread the annual New Year's resolution to lose weight. Here are some tips to limit the holiday weight gain before it gets the best of you.
Be selective. After arriving at a party, look over all of your food choices and select the best first. Skip the snack foods you can have anytime like chips, crackers, pretzels and cheese.
Fill up, not out. Alternate high calorie treats with low calorie vegetables and beverages.
Cut down on the portions. You can have your cake and eat it too if you start with a forkful of cheesecake instead of the entire piece. Try those new or once a year treats but savor them in small amounts.
Remember socializing doesn't mean having to have a full plate and a high calorie beverage in your hand. Select a small plate to eat from enjoy and be done. Eat slowly and stop after 20 30 minutes. Next, toss the plate and don't go back for seconds. If you snack all night, the calories can really add up! Grab the glass of water or diet soda as you chat with friends as often as a high calorie drink like punch, beer, wine or a cocktail. Alternating between the two means half the beverage calories.
Entertain Healthfully! Most people are watching their weight. Be a good host by providing sugar-free, low fat food and beverage options. Then they are there for you to choose, too!
Healthy holiday eating does not have to be boring, bland or high in calorie to be tasty and satisfying. Here are some simple substitutions suggested by the American Dietetic Association â€œto help turn your food masterpieces into guilt-free pleasuresâ€:
- Use two egg whites in place of one egg
- Use three tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of oil in place of baking chocolate
- Replace cream or whipping cream with evaporated skim milk
- Try substituting an equal amount of applesauce for at least half the oil, margarine or butter in muffins and quick breads like banana bread
- For dips, sauces and pie toppings, use non-fat yogurt and whipped topping or fat-free sour cream and prepared salad dressings
- Top casseroles with almonds, fresh herbs, or raw vegetables instead of fried onion rings
- Choose reduced-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles.
Surf the Web for healthier, lower fat and calorie recipes. Try typing in â€œrecipesâ€ into the search box on the home page. You may also find cookbooks for purchase. Some noteworthy sites include:
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
www.americanheart.org The American Heart Association
www.diabetes.org The American Diabetes Association
www.eatright.org The American Dietetic Association
www.allrecipes.com (click on their â€œLight Favoritesâ€)
Dress for success! Skip clothes with the expandable waist. Keep belts comfortably snug to remind you of your â€œno weight gainâ€ goal.
Don't forget to exercise! Plan extra exercise during the holidays. Make walking, ice skating, snowshoeing or skiing a family tradition. Be active early in the day before the feast begins. Burning calories can be as enjoyable as eating them!!
Check the table below to see how many calories 30 minutes of an activity burns!
Wt = ~ 150 #
Walking (normal pace) 150 calories
Jogging 250 calories
Swimming (slow crawl) 260 calories
Stairmaster 200 calories
Snowshoeing (soft snow) 340 calories
Skiing (downhill, leisurely) 200 calories
We make choices every time we eat and drink. Food and beverages shouldn't be the focus of most gatheringsâ€”enjoy the company of friends, family, and the spirit of the season. Learn to enjoy the treats in moderation.
The holidays are probably not the best time to lose weight, but you can still give your health a present by moving into 2008 without additional pounds to lose. If you succeed, adapt these tips to your daily life. Weight maintenance or weight loss can be achieved with similar vigilance all year round.