The Holidays are coming! The Holidays are coming! Does the mere thought of Thanksgiving turkey, pumpkin pie, and lots of Christmas cookies make you gain 5 pounds! Do you remember extra 10-20 pounds heavier you were on New Year’s Day? NOOOO!”?? Well fear not, the holiday season is not to be dreaded but embraced. Here are the slim dozen of expert nutritionist Do’s, with a few Don’ts, to celebrate with over the holidays:
DO remember it is a holiday – one day, not a holiweek. So go ahead and indulge some, but keep it to that day.
DO eat smaller meals thru the day to keep the hunger at bay. If needed, make your meals just a salad of green vegetable with some high quality proteins.
DON’T skip meals trying to save up for dinner. You might eat everything on the table and feel like the bottomless pit. We call this the Sumo wrestler diet where you starve all day to save up for dinner. You can really pack on fat mass this way which is not necessarily a good thing.
DO choose your carbs wisely. Choose root vegetables over grains. If choosing grains, limit them to ½ cup serving. This will also mean if you have potatoes and cornbread stuffing, you should not eat the pie, You may want to have all of them, but then eat less of them – ½ serving of each?
DO eat the pie or dessert but only a sliver, not a whole piece. If that is too hard, then split the dessert with someone else or two other people. Everyone else is watching their weight, too!
DON’T have more than 2 glasses of alcohol per day. Alcohol is like pure sugar. It can spike the blood sugar; it can make you more hungry and less able to control your food choices and intake.
DO drink your water! We tend to forget we still need to keep hydrated in cooler temperatures. Water helps to flush out toxins but also helps keep hunger at bay. Try to drink 60+ ounces per day but not with your meals.
DO make half of your plate vegetables – mostly green and dark leafy green vegetables. This includes green beans, asparagus, kale, chard, arugula, romaine and all lettuces, sugar snap peas, Brussel sprouts and cabbage.
Do load your plate with veggies first, then proteins then starches. Half your plate should be vegetables, a quarter protein and the last quarter your starch. Try to get vegetables and protein for second helpings rather than more starches. Remember, you DO want to eat dessert!
DO make as many items as you can ahead of time, so you are not rushing the last minute for dinner. Plan ahead and get people to help you. It can help to share the cooking duties and have your guests bring a dish for the meal. If you are asked to bring something, bring a vegetable platter!
DO use half the cheese, butter, and sugar in your recipes. This includes vegetables, casseroles and desserts. The flavors will be there without the added calories. If needed, use reduced fat, but fat-free is usually filled with other unnecessary ingredients that are no longer food items.
DO find time to sleep! Sleep deprivation is the key to putting on weight or keeping weight on. It causes stress and more sugar cravings. Take a nap if you have to. Sleep is your friend!
DO say ‘No’ if need to. You are not being selfish. You need to take care of you! Too much on the schedule and you will just be exhausted and unable to participate in all the fun.
Holidays are a time to celebrate our health and happiness with our family and friend. Using these expert nutrition suggestions will help keep them a holiday without the guilt of gaining weight.