I love this time of year. Thanksgiving reminds us of gratitude, Christmas reminds us to be generous, and the New Year reminds us of our goals. It’s such an uplifting time of year, but there is one setback. Generally, with all of this giving and celebrating, we tend to eat like pigs. I mean, think about it. Who doesn’t gorge themselves on Thanksgiving day, or eat all of those yummy treats on Christmas? I think we’re all guilty as charged. So what can we do about it? Well, I have come up with a few tricks on how to gain less weight than normal during this holiday season.
Tip #1: Go Lean. And I don’t mean over the toilet after you’ve eaten too much. I mean “go lean” when it comes to meat. Avoiding all of that fat is going to cut you a lot of calories. When you can, go skinless. I know it’s not the same, but you can still make skinless meat taste good. You can “go lean” on other things too. When you make some dip, use fat-free sour cream. It doesn’t taste different, but you’re cutting a lot of calories. When you have some eggnog, find a recipe that calls for skim milk rather than whole. Little choices like that will really help you to cut the carbs and save your waist line.
Tip #2: Bread, Biscuits, and Pastries. This time of year, everyone is baking bread for each other, having biscuits with dinner, and enjoying various desserts. So what can you do in these situations? Well, it’s actually quite simple. When you make apple pie, use the “no sugar added” pie filling. When everyone is having an english muffin sandwich for breakfast, use toasted whole grain bread. Granted, there are times where there is no healthy alternative. In these cases, just limit your portions. I know how easy it is to eat 10 cookies without realizing it! But if you pay attention and keep your health in mind, you can do it.
Tip #3: ‘Orange’ you glad it’s Christmas time? One of my favorite things about winter is that oranges are in season. This is good for your health too! Whenever you are craving something sweet, but you don’t want to destroy your diet, just enjoy an orange instead. The natural sugars will satisfy your cravings, and all of those lovely vitamins and other nutrients will allow you to justify eating it. It’s a great healthy choice that’s also delicious.
Tip #4: Sweet or mashed? Potatoes are an integral part of every family dinner. But mashed potatoes aren’t very nutritious. So this year, instead of piling the mashed potatoes onto your plate, go for the sweet potatoes instead. They are loaded with beta carotene, and a whole lot of other good nutrients too. And when the marshmallow cream comes to mind, try to find one that’s sugar free. That way you can cut the carbs down a bit and still enjoy your potatoes!
Tip #5: Go for a walk! With the winter season comes chilly weather. It makes it hard to find active things to do as a family! But with all of the eating that happens this time of year, exercise is more important than ever. Rather than throwing in the towel, why not try to find some fun winter activities to do? If your climate allows it, have a snow ball fight. With all of the running and ducking involved, it’s a great way to exercise. But if you’re like me, and you live in a place where it doesn’t snow, then you’re going to have to do something different. Why not bundle up and go play at the park? Pushing all the kids on the swings is great for your arms, and playing tag with the little ones is great for your body as well. But if push comes to shove and everyone is too full to go run around outside, then you might have to break out the treadmill and do some running by yourself.
Well, that about does it! So just remember that the holidays aren’t an excuse to ruin your diet and eat everything in sight. Rather, see this time of year as a challenge, one that you can overcome easily. Don’t let the treats get you down! Instead just moderate your intake, make good choices where possible, and enjoy your sweet potatoes. Happy holidays!