Smarter snacking during the holidays

November 30, 2012 12:16:00 PM PST
The holiday season doesn't have to be a miserable experience for those who are trying to lose weight. You can eat all you want by simply making healthier choices when filling your plate this season such as skipping the fried vegetables for some steamed ones, picking up a whole grain roll and ditching that extra gravy!

Here are some culinary dos and don'ts that will help you avoid those extra pounds:

The Dos:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Whole grain bread/ pasta
  • Meat and poultry without the gravy
  • Shrimp, lobster, and other steamed food
  • Salad greens (lightly dressed)
  • Vegetables
  • Dark chocolates
  • Sparkling or stilled water in between cocktails or alcoholic beverages so that you stay hydrated and full
  • Eat a healthy snack (see below) before heading out so you are not consuming everything in sight when you are eating your holiday meal.

The Don'ts:

  • The skin of turkey and chicken (filled with saturated fat)
  • Buttery mashed potatoes
  • Fried finger foods
  • Mixed drinks
  • Cookies and cakes
  • Milk chocolates
  • Alcohol (portion your intake)

How to eat with your mouth and not your eyes

Just because there is more food on the table doesn't mean you have to finish it all. Saving food for leftovers is a great start to stop making you indulge in more food. Here are some other strategies to limit holiday gorging:

  • Don't skip breakfast. Those who partake in the morning meal are more likely to consume fewer calories than those you don't.
  • Avoid sitting Eat proper portion sizes. Remember that your stomach is generally the size of two of your fists put together, so try not to eat more than that during a meal.
  • Use a smaller plate size. This will encourage proper portions.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and salads before going to the entrees and dessert.
  • Try your best not to sit next to all the sweets.
  • Keep yourself busy by not eating but conversing in the table conversation.
  • Eat slowly and savor every bite.
  • Leave the food in your plate that you do not want to finish.
  • Eat proper portion sizes. Remember that your stomach is generally the size of two of your fists put together, so try not to eat more than that during a meal.
  • When you're finished eating, excuse yourself from the table.
  • Brushing your teeth after you eat will stop the urge for seconds or even thirds.

Recharge and reinvigorate

The holiday season is full of excitement, busy days -- and not enough sleep! To get properly fueled for your busy schedule, instead of getting a sugar rush from your favorite sweets, try these healthy snacks:

  • Apples
  • Whole grain/ wheat bread
  • Unsalted cashews, almonds, and nuts
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Unsweetend juice
  • Fat free milk
  • Water
  • Fat free yogurt
Sources: WebMD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Better Health USA, American Heart Association
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