Monday, December 2, 2013

The holidays: A time of joy, or a time of fear (of gaining weight)?

By Jennifer Lane, registered dietitian, Rouge Valley Health System
The holiday season is a time for enjoying the company of friends and family, and sharing food and drink aplenty.  But for some, this also means a fear of gaining weight.  Here are a few tips on how to survive the holiday season, without the risk of increasing a dress or pant size.
1. Never go to an event hungry.  A healthy snack of veggies and hummus or fruit and yogurt will prevent you from overindulging on the higher calorie treats that are sure to be on the menu.
2. Don’t drink all your extra calories.  The specialty cocktails and liqueurs are the ones that have the most calories.  If you choose to consume alcohol, have a mixed drink of hard liquor, like vodka and diet soda, or club soda with lemon or lime, and go easy.
3. Be selective.  Having a few appetizers can deliver as many calories as an entire meal.  Choose appetizers that are not heavily loaded with fat, like the ones made with brie cheese or pastry. Try choosing veggie spring rolls or appetizers wrapped in lettuce as an alternative.
4.  Plan ahead.  If you know you will be eating more than usual in the evening, choose low-calorie, high-fibre foods for breakfast, lunch and snacks. For example, have steel-cut oats for breakfast, and a large salad with chickpeas for lunch, plus fruit and a low fat yogurt for a snack.  Go to to sign up for a free program that helps you plan your daily calorie goals.
5. Be active.  If you plan to overindulge, try to fit in one or two extra workouts for the week. This will combat the extra calories consumed. A 30-minute jog can burn up to a whopping 350 calories!
Whatever you plan for this holiday season, choosing healthy meals while remaining active can help to make your holiday season even brighter, and keep the worry of gaining extra pounds at bay.

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