Enjoy the Holidays - Healthier!
Brought to you by the JMC’s Institute for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery
The holidays can be a joyous time of year with family and friends, but they may also bring stress and anxiety as we struggle to keep up with often-unrealistic demands and expectations. Below are some helpful tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
During the season, try to have as many ‘normal’ days as possible – days when you eat healthy foods and exercise. While a workout can’t compensate for overeating, it does help stabilize weight and gives you a psychological boost too. Document your exercise time in your weekly planner and consider it as absolute.
How to Enjoy Parties without Overeating:
- Do not arrive at a party hungry. Eat a light meal or snack before going to a food-laden party. Try to eat foods high in protein, like a handful of almonds, chicken, cup of cottage cheese. These foods will make you feel full and help you eat less at the party.
- Pass on pretzels, salted nuts, chips, dips, sauces and dressings. Spend your calories wisely.
- Wear a form-fitting outfit, with a belt if possible.
- Plan how much alcohol you will drink. It loosens your inhibitions and contributes to calorie consumption. Instead of high fat eggnog, have a light beer or wine. After that, stick with calorie-free drinks such as water, unsweetened ice tea, hot tea or coffee.
- Stand or sit as far away from the buffet table as possible. Keep your back to the table so you can’t see it.
- Wear a special piece of jewelry, such as a ring or bangle, as a visible reminder to yourself to eat in moderation.
- Focus on socializing. Don’t stand at the food table. Focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of food. Conversation is calorie free.
- Portion control is the key to avoiding weight gain during the holiday season. Use a side plate. Fill your dish with larger portions of healthier foods like lean proteins, cheese, and veggies and only take small portions of extra fatty foods.
- A small portion of an appetizer may help you from overeating at dinner. Stick with veggies and a piece of cheese. Avoid crackers, chips, dips and dressings.
- “Small Plate Please!” Fill half of your plate with protein, one quarter with veggies or salad, and if you must, the final quarter with a starch. Be careful with gravy, dressings and butter. Remove the skin from your turkey and discard. Never go back for seconds.
- Brush your teeth between courses; it helps to subdue your appetite.
- Learn to say “NO”! Practice saying, “No thank you, I’ve had enough.” You will find it’s not so hard.
- After a holiday meal, go for a walk with friends and family to enjoy holiday displays in the neighborhood.
- For dessert, have a small piece of what is being offered. Better yet, find a reduced calorie recipe and make your own to serve or bring as a dish with you.
Holiday Cooking Tips:
- Enlist the help of friends and family. It’s up to you to figure out your vulnerabilities and strengths – and communicate them.
- This year, a holiday makeover is definitely in order, meaning it’s time to deck the kitchen with healthier ingredients and lower-calorie treats. With visions of skim milk, egg substitutes, and a sprinkle of cinnamon dancing in your head, the trick is to pack in the flavor and pull out the fat. This way you can enjoy all the tasty treats the season has to offer, without the guilt and gratuitous calories.
- Substitute fatty ingredients with lower fat, lower calorie foods. You can still enjoy your favorite stuffing or mashed potatoes recipes, but use fruits and vegetables in your stuffing and try smashed sweet potatoes.
- Use fruits and spices to flavor your dishes instead of meat drippings and butter.
Smart Seasonal Drinking:
- Seasonal drinks are a staple of the holiday season but treats like hot chocolate, eggnog
- and cider are high in calories from either alcohol or cream (one cup of eggnog is 400
- Drink plenty of water in the days around big holiday gatherings to keep you feeling full
- and hydrated. Drinking water will also help you flush out your system and shed extra
- salt that your body may be absorbing.
- Alcohol is almost always flowing at holiday events. Seek alternatives to higher calorie
- drinks like beer and eggnog. Opt for hot tea, light beer or wine spritzers.
- Limit your alcohol intake to just one or two glasses. The more you drink, the more
- inclined you are to keep eating past the point of fullness.
Remember these tips and you can still ‘eat, drink and be merry’ – just in a healthier way – during the holidays.
For more information, please contact Julie Minister, RN, CNOR, LNC, JMC’s Institute for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, at JMinister@jupitermed.com or (561) 263-5695.