|9 Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies|
Fend Off Holiday Weight Gain with These Easy Tricks
1. The Strategy: Bring Your Own Food
Contribute a healthy dish to a gathering to ensure there’s something you can indulge in.
Eat the best-for-you offerings first. For example, hot soup as a first course―especially when it's broth-based, not cream-based―can help you avoid eating too much during the main course.
2. The Strategy: Don’t Go Hungry to the Mall
To cut down on the lure of the food court, never go to the mall on an empty stomach.
Plan your shopping route so you don’t pass the Cinnabon stand a dozen times.The obvious reason? Both sights and smells can coax you to eat, and with some vendors purposefully wafting their aromas your way, saying no can feel impossible.
3. The Strategy: Keep Track of What You Eat
Maintain a food diary to help you stay committed to your goals during this risky eating period.
Weigh yourself daily and use that number to guide your actions. (Food diaries are helpful, but only if you’re totally honest and diligent about recording every morsel you eat.) Research has shown that women who step on the scale every day and then act accordingly, either increasing their exercise or being stricter about their eating, are 82 percent less likely to regain lost weight than those who don’t weigh in as often.
4. The Strategy: Eat Before Going to a Party
Before going out, have a healthy snack to curb your appetite.
Eat breakfast. This has been shown to prevent overeating later in the day.
5. The Strategy: Keep Healthy Snacks at the Office
Stash healthy foods in your desk at work so you’re not as tempted by the treats piling up at the office.
Try to keep communal office goodies out of view, either in an area that isn’t as highly trafficked as the kitchen or the break room, or in dark containers or covered dishes. In one study, people ate 26 percent more Hershey’s Kisses when the candies were in clear dishes versus white ones. And when the chocolates were placed six feet away, the average person ate only four a day, as opposed to nine a day when they were within arm’s reach.
6. The Strategy: Manage Portion Size
Take sensible portions so you don’t end up eating too much.
Use smaller plates and serving utensils.Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself. What looks like a normal portion on a 12-inch plate or a troughlike bowl can, in fact, be sinfully huge. In one study conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, even nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls. The size of the serving utensil mattered, too: Subjects served themselves 57 percent more when they used a three-ounce scoop versus a smaller scoop.
7. The Strategy: Control Your Environment
You plan to use sheer willpower during large family dinners.
Eat with a small group when you can.One study found that dining with six or more people can cause you to eat 76 percent more, most likely because the meal can last so long. (After an hour of staring at the stuffing, you’re more likely to have seconds.) At a big sit-down supper, be the last one to start and the second one to stop eating.
8. The Strategy: Keep Up the Exercise
You’re determined to squeeze in at least one or two workouts a week, no matter how busy you get.
Break it up. If you don’t have time for your daily four-mile walk, do a few 10- or 15-minute spurts of exercise throughout the day (to accumulate the surgeon general’s recommendation of 30 minutes a day). They can be just as effective at maintaining overall fitness as one continuous workout.
9. The Strategy: Choose Your Indulgences
You intend to stave off feelings of deprivation by allowing yourself a “cheat” day a week.
Plan in advance to eat a little more and be a little more flexible at this time of year, when you face daily temptations.That way, you can savor the culinary joys of the holidays a little more often and you'll be less likely to binge. For instance, rather than inhaling four sugar cookies on your cheat day, allow yourself one as a dessert when the mood strikes. Then make one little switch during the day to account for those calories―maybe skipping that morning latte or cutting out an afternoon snack.
From: REAL SIMPLE MAGAZINE