It’s the holiday season and another year comes racing to a close with plenty of sweets, food, and drink to go with it. If you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight, the availability of holiday treats and trimmings can make getting to January without any extra pounds a real challenge.
Here are a few tips to help you ring in the new year without any extra weight.
1. Eat more veggies. Make a conscious effort to eat 2-3 more servings of vegetables than you’re eating right now. Raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter. Try vegetable soup, steamed vegetables, stir-fried, sautéed, roasted. Vegetables are high fiber and nutritious. Buy seasonal if you can and try something new to mix up your routine.
2. Stash snacks. Have low glycemic snacks ready to eat before a party, buffet, or formal dinner. Snacking keeps you from being over-hungry and sets you up for making more thoughtful food choices. Some of my favorites are apple with raw almonds, apple slices with peanut butter (no added sugar), carrots and hummus, and Greek yogurt with grapes and pecan pieces.
3. Hydrate. Drinking plenty of water (8-12 glasses a day) will help keep everything flowing like it’s supposed to and will help you feel satisfied when eating low-glycemic, high fiber foods. Flavor your water with fruit like lemon or lime juice, orange slices, or other fruit for a little variety.
4. Survey the buffet. Buffets are common for holiday parties because they’re easy and give you so much variety. If possible, before picking up your plate, look over the buffet and do your best to make good choices. Avoid the fried stuff and stick with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and protein.
5. Be selective. If you decide you want dessert, no problem. Serve a little, enjoy it, and be done with it. Just don’t go crazy and act like you’ll never be able to eat dessert again in your life. I speak from experience when I say the weight you gain can end up staying with you way past that moment of deliciousness and it’s probably not worth it.
6. Stay focused on your goal. Even though it may be tough to pass up rich and decadent food when it’s right in front of you, going crazy with mindless eating and drinking that results in extra pounds on the scale or not being able to button your pants can be discouraging and even depressing. Keep your mental image of success clear and at the forefront of your mind.
Food is an important part of many celebrations but keep food in perspective. Be mindful about the many things that make this time of year so special: time with family and friends, giving generously, helping those in need, spiritual renewing, and much more. Enjoy those things and make your good health another thing to celebrate.