Holiday Nutrition: Maintain, Don’t Gain!

Did you know the average person gains a few pounds throughout the holidays?!   From Halloween candy to Thanksgiving pies to Christmas baking to New Year's cocktails ¦it is easy to add a few pounds.   So let's check out how you can avoid common nutrition holiday pitfalls this season!

Eating on the Run

The holidays bring lots of errands, lots of shopping, and thus lots of eating on-the-go.   From drive thrus to mall food courts it is easy to grab a bite and get back to the shopping.   So here are some ways to eat fast and eat healthy.

  • Order a grilled chicken sandwich, wrap or salad and get the sauce on the side
  • Substitute a salad, fruit cup, yogurt parfait or carton of milk for French fries
  • Skip the soda, milkshake, and sweet tea and go with water

Parties and Family Gatherings

The holidays also bring lots of parties and gatherings of family and friends.   The challenge is that all of these events usually revolve around food and cocktails and it is easy to over-eat bite-size foods.   So in order to control your cravings at the party, prepare throughout the day.

  • Do NOT skip meals all day.   Eat small meals and snacks all day so you are not starving upon arriving
  • Eat a small healthy snack with carbohydrate AND protein   right before the party.   This could be a small energy bar, whole grain crackers and a string cheese, a handful of nuts and berries, etc.
  • Use the small  plate at the party and don't stand by the food table.   Get your food and leave the area.

Office Goodies

Many people bring goodies  to work around the holidays which makes it harder to be good  nutritionally.   Be the healthy person in your office by bringing the fruit or veggie tray and nibble on that.   Here are some other office-eating tips ¦

  • Eat a good breakfast of carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy fat so you are not hungry when you get to work and you can avoid the doughnut and pastry table
  • Bring your lunch and snacks so you will not graze through the office kitchen all day looking for food
  • Pick one day you will treat  yourself on office goodies and be satisfied with that one day

Cocktails

Wine, martinis and champagne ¦oh how the calories can add up!   Alcohol is full of empty calories, which means it has a good amount of calories with no nutrients.   The real problem, however, is that alcohol does not make you full like food does so you keep drinking those extra calories.   Make your first goal to drink water when you get to the party.   Then have a drink or two throughout the evening and alternate water in between.

  • 4-5 oz wine or champagne = 100-120 calories
  • 2 oz light beer = 110 calories (avoid the regular that has more than 150 calories per serving)
  • Avoid things like margaritas and fruity drinks as they can have anywhere from 250-600 calories per drink

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