The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight gain. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. The holidays don’t have to mean gaining weight. Focus on a healthy balance of food, smart choices, activity, and fun. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the holiday season.
1) Don’t deprive yourself during the day: Skipping meals and saving up for that big holiday party you have tonight often leads to poor food choices and overindulgence. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables, nuts or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to overindulge
2) Savor your Food: If you choose to have a piece of Aunt Ida’s famous Pumpkin Pie, savor every bite. Eat each bite with pleasure and without guilt. Allowing yourself to eat this way 10% of the time will help you build a healthy relationship with food. If you eat for fuel the remaining 90% of the time, you can maintain a healthy body. So go ahead, allow yourself to really enjoy that piece of pie.
3) Slow Down: To combat overindulging in seconds and thirds, slow down. Eating mindfully, chewing your food thoroughly and taking the time to enjoy what you are eating will give your body the time to tell your brain you are satiated. Before reaching for a second helping of stuffing, sit for 5 minutes and ask yourself if you are really still physically hungry.
4) Don’t have a Turkey Overdose: Tryptophan, an amino acid found turkey, helps your brain release serotonin, which can boost your mood and bring on feelings of bliss. Over indulge on turkey and your body turns that serotonin in melatonin, a natural sleep inducer! Unless you want to end up like your old Uncle Henry, with your pants unbuttoned snoring on the couch, try filling up on side dishes of complex carbs like veggies and whole grains for long lasting energy. Let’s make it through dessert this year people!
5) Go Veg!- The average Thanksgiving dinner can add up to about 4,000 calories. Not only does eating plant-based reduce the amount of calories you may eat by filling up on fibrous veggies and whole grains, but it also reduces your carbon footprint and you just might save a turkey this year. You can feel doubly good about that.
Photo Credit: Steve voght at Flickr for Creative Commons