Holiday Eating Tips*
Healthful Habits to Help You Stay on Track
Don’t go to a party hungry: When we are hungry we often eat faster and more than we intend; therefore, eat a light meal or protein snack before any holiday event to avoid overeating later. Consuming a food high in protein or fiber, like chicken or cottage cheese, or vegetables with hummus will help you eat less at the party. Excess calories consumed as a result of making extra trips to the buffet may stop your weight loss or even lead to weight regain. So, don’t park yourself in front of the buffet. Mingle! If you stand by the buffet you will eat more than you would if it was across the room.
Watch your portion: Treat yourself to a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweet without guilt, but always watch your portion size. Go for small portions. This way you can sample a variety of different foods available – try to include selections from at least 3 food groups (i.e. protein, vegetable, and fruit/starch/dessert). Moderation is always the key. Choose the items you want to try the most & eat a small portion of each. Only get one plate of food and always use a small plate.
Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: High fat food items can be found in fried food, cream-based soup, cheese-filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods. Offer to bring a low-calorie dish to holiday parties. Your host might appreciate it, and you’ll know that at least one healthy item will be on hand.
Try a different version of your favorite holiday beverage: Google “low calorie holiday beverages” and you will find lots of ideas. If you buy commercial egg nog, you will be delighted to find organic, low-fat egg nog (by Horizon) – we can even find soy nog (by Silk)!
Try other versions of alcoholic beverages: Remember that calories from alcohol tend to be stored in the abdomen. People who are overweight actually gain weight more easily when they consume alcohol. Alcoholic beverages and many fruit punches can be long on calories but short on nutrition. Instead, look for hot cider, diet sodas, and flavored waters. Instead of beer, cider, Bailey’s and Kahlua, try dry wine or spirits with a diet mixer – these will have fewer calories.
Drink plenty of water: Sometimes people feel hungry when they are thirsty – try to drink 8 cups per day!
Physical activity: Find new ways to enjoy the company of your loved ones during the holiday season. After a meal, go for a walk to see the holiday displays in your neighborhood or go window shopping at the mall. If you’ve been exercising, continue to make physical activity a priority by inviting your visitors to participate. If you haven’t been active, it’s a great time to start. Remember, exercise is a great way to manage holiday stress and burn off some of those extra calories.
Eat slowly. Many times, people eat so fast that their stomachs don’t have enough time to register that they are full. Savor each bite and enjoy the taste of the food—chances are you will eat less.
Avoid fast food. The holiday season can keep you on the go with little time to prepare meals. Fast food may be handy, but often is high in fat and carbohydrates. Prepare and freeze quick, healthy meals ahead of time to stay out of the fast food trap. Or have a protein drink for dinner
Be realistic. Don’t expect to accelerate your weight loss during the holidays; make it your goal to maintain your present weight.
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*Weight loss surgery results vary between individuals depending on the initial weight, medical conditions and adherence to prescribed treatments. Speak to Dr. Bass about the results you can expect.