Even on your A-game, achieving a nutritionally balanced diet can be challenge. Now throw in the holiday season with its endless cheese platters, treats in the office, festive beverages at every holiday parties and it’s not long before a one-off indulgence becomes an every day overindulgence.
But December doesn’t need to be a nutrition catastrophe. With a little willpower, maintaining good eating habits while still partaking in the season’s festivities is achievable. Our dietitians with the Healthy Heart Program share tips for how to make your next foray through the buffet line a success!
Before heading to a party, consider where you will be, what kinds of foods will be there, and what you most want to eat versus what you could do without. When you arrive, check out all the food offerings and load up on veggies and fresh fruit before thinking about higher-calorie options.
Don’t skip meals
If you arrive at a party hungry, not only will you eat faster but you will also eat larger portions. Eat well-balanced meals throughout the day, have a nutritious snack before you head out the door and you will eat less at the party.
Make your calories count
Choose your indulgences wisely and make sure you are eating your favourites. If you love chocolate, have some but go easy on the deep-fried appetizers. Remember, you need to walk one mile to burn off 100 calories.
Don’t be afraid to say “no”
You don’t have to accept every goodie that is offered to you during the holiday season. Practice polite ways to turn down high-fat, high-calorie fare such as “I am just stuffed, I couldn’t possibly eat any more of your delicious food,” or “I tried it and it was just wonderful, thank you.”
Pick your drink
One beer or one glass of wine contains 100 to 150 calories. Mixed drinks such as spirits with sweetened beverages can contain around 200 calories. A cup of eggnog can run from 300 to 400 calories (not including the rum!). For a lower calorie beverage, make a wine spritzer using soda water, dilute eggnog with low-fat milk or try a virgin Caesar. And remember to drink plenty of water.
The more active you are, the more calories you burn. Create new memories by taking the whole family snowshoeing or ice skating, or simply go for a walk around the neighbourhood to admire the Christmas lights. Pedometers are a great way to encourage regular movement; aim for 10,000 steps per day.
Keep your weight stable
Now might not be the best time to start a new weight-loss regimen. Instead, focus on maintaining your weight. Weigh yourself at the same time every day to see if your weight changes. Wear body conscious clothing to remind yourself how much you are eating. You are more likely to overeat if you are wearing loose clothing you can “hide” under.
Even with the best of intentions, you aren’t going to have perfect eating days every day. One over-indulgence doesn’t mean you should give up on your healthy eating efforts. Remember, experiences are more important than counting up the calories of what you’re putting in your mouth so focus on spending time with family and friends. Have fun, laugh and celebrate!