Healthy Habits During the Holidays
It is that time of year again where everyone is on the go
attending holiday parties and rushing through the stores for Christmas shopping. Holiday parties can lead to lots of sweets and
tasty dishes that aren’t always the healthiest options. The colder temperatures also lead to more
days inside that could potentially decrease activity on a day to day
basis. So, how is one supposed to make
it through the holiday season without sabotaging their waistline? Panhandle Weight Loss Center has some tips to
follow a healthy lifestyle to keep you on track toward your goals while still
enjoying the holiday season!
Proper portions are a must! Just because it is the holiday season doesn’t
mean you should abandon the healthy habits you have been developing all
year. Focus on having healthy, balanced
meals using Choose My Plate as a guide.
Your portions after bariatric surgery will be smaller than what Choose
My Plate recommends but we still want balance.
Try to fill up on protein and vegetables at meals and limit higher calorie
and fat options. When at a holiday
party, limit sweets and desserts by just taking a bite or two of one dessert
option. Most of the time just a bite
will satisfy the desire for that food item while also helping to control
Trim back the trimmings! Food items this time of year can be loaded
with extra fat and calories so try to go easy on the extras. Toppings like cream sauces, gravy, butter and
whipped cream can add a lot of calories that are not needed. If you are preparing the dishes yourself,
utilize healthier alternatives such as low fat gravy, light butter (or even
better, olive oil), low fat whipped topping, or low fat sour cream. Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt can also be
utilized as a replacement for sour cream in baking and cooking. It will
decrease the fat content while increasing the protein content... a benefit for
Be a food snob…. but still be polite, of course! I was always taught while growing up to eat
what was served while a guest at someone’s house and not complain if I didn’t
like it… I thank my mom and dad for raising me in that way now! However, if you are at a party with a buffet
you can choose what goes on your plate and can be somewhat of a food snob. If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. This is an easy way to shave calories from
your meal. Don’t have the mindset of “I
only get this food once a year so I need to eat as much as I can now” or, if
you are preparing for surgery, “I might not get to eat this food again so I
need to eat as much as I can now”. This
mindset will just set you up for a lot of extra calories consumed. Choose the food items that are important to
you and are holiday favorites. Always
eat slowly and savor each bite to keep from from overeating. If your family is similar to mine, the foods
we have at holidays are only once or twice a year so with each bite you take,
think of why you like this food and enjoy it!
Stay out of the kitchen! Most family gatherings or holiday parties
consist of standing around the kitchen or buffet table and grazing which can
lead to a lot of extra calories consumed.
Try to get people out of the kitchen or away from the food table for
socializing that will save everyone from overeating. If you can’t get out of the kitchen, try to
resist grazing on high calorie options and choose vegetables or fruits if
available. An even better option would
be to skip the appetizers and use that time to drink healthy fluids or chew
sugar-free gum to keep from diving in before the meal starts.
Avoid or alternate alcoholic drinks. Most holiday parties offer alcoholic
beverages that are loaded with sugar and calories. After bariatric surgery, it is important to
limit alcoholic beverages because of the risk for becoming addicted to alcohol. Remember that it is recommended to separate
food from fluids so you will feel the effects of alcohol faster because you are
not eating while drinking. Cut calories
in half, stay hydrated, and avoid the risks of alcoholism by choosing healthy
fluids! Try a sugar-free cider, fruit
infused water, or decaf tea/coffee while at a holiday party to save calories.
Focus on family and friends. We often get excited about the delicious food
that will be served and forget why we are getting together in the first
place. Remember the reason for the
season and spend your time talking with family or friends and catching up on
what has happened in the past year. Even
better, increase activity by getting the family to play a game outside if it is
good weather. Try to keep out of the kitchen to avoid the temptation to graze!
Keep up with healthy habits. During the holiday season, we can get off
track easily with everything going on.
Make sure to eat regularly throughout the day instead of trying to “save
up” calories for the party at night.
Having balanced meals can keep blood sugar stable and keep you from
overeating at the end of the day.
Exercise is something that is important year-round, not just when the
weather is good outside. Make sure to
aim for 30-60 minutes of activity at least 5 days per week. Indoor activities like exercise classes,
swimming, and exercise videos are a great way to break a sweat without going
out in the cold. Of course, if the
weather is nice walking is still a great option. Just get moving and break a sweat!
The staff at Panhandle Weight Loss Center are so glad you
have made the commitment to a healthier you!
We are here to help you every step of your transformation and hope that
these tips will help you during the holiday season. As you have heard most dietitians say,
Moderation really is key when having a healthy lifestyle and managing your
weight. Enjoy the Christmas season with
your family and friends but remember to make those healthy choices to keep you
on track. Come New Year’s Day you will
not regret staying on track and will be a step ahead for those resolutions you
will be setting in 2017! Merry
Written by Allison Jones, MS, RDN, LD Registered Dietitian
with Panhandle Weight Loss Center