You’ve just recovered from all the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie you ate at Thanksgiving, but the holiday season looms just around the corner. Trying to eat a reasonable amount during this time can be challenging, especially with many holiday parties and as friends and family give gifts of cookies, cakes, and other treats.
In this post, learn how you can avoid, or at least limit, overeating during this festive, but food-filled time of year. Follow these tips and you just might not have to make that oh-so-common New Year’s resolution—losing the weight you gained from late November through December.
1. Eat Foods High in Fiber and Protein
Health.com notes that fiber-filled foods like fruits and vegetables can make you feel full much more quickly for fewer calories. Plus, they’re far higher in nutritional value than a sugar cookie with icing (duh!). The article also suggests eating high-protein foods to help satisfy hunger cravings. So grab a handful of nuts, or try eating crunchy carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or red bell pepper slices before you head to a party. If you’re the party host, serve veggies with a light dip, and add a bowl of mixed nuts to the typical cheese platter, artichoke dip, cookies, or other fat-filled appetizers and desserts served at holiday parties.
2. Fill Your Dinner Plate a Single Time
Develop the habit of filling your plate just once before the big meals that surround the holidays begin. That habit will keep you from feeling like a stuffed turkey when you push your chair back from the table after a holiday meal. If you must have seconds, here’s a great psychological trick recommended by many endeavoring to lose or control their weight—use a smaller dinner plate. Also, wait 20 minutes between servings to give your brain time to get the message that you’re actually full.
3. Don’t Park Yourself Next to the Appetizers
This may seem obvious, but it’s a lot easier to graze from the appetizer table when you’re standing right next to it. Focus on conversing and visiting with friends and family rather than the food. If you find that the people you want to talk with seem set on staying by the salami and brie plate, suggest doing something active, like walking through the neighborhood to see the holiday lights or caroling from door to door.
4. Substitute Carbonated Water for Alcohol or Sodas
Alcoholic beverages and sodas seem to be beverage mainstays of the holidays, but they’re high in sugar, carbohydrates, and calories. Limit your intake of both by making special low calorie drinks based mostly on carbonated water. For example, add a dash of cherry juice, a cherry, and a slice of orange to a glass of ice-filled carbonated water, put a festive umbrella in it, and you’ll never miss the alcoholic drink or high-sugar soda.
Learn about other substitutes for high-sugar sodas from a recent Salad Menu blog post. For more ideas on ways to limit your overeating and drinking, read this great article from California Pacific Medical Center. The article starts out with a wise piece of advice, “Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.”
Make It Easy for Your Guests and Friends to Stay Healthy
If you’re hosting or going to a holiday party, consider providing guests the option to have a flavored carbonated beverage. Don’t forget to make a vegetable plate—the dip can be the Dairy-free Ranch Dressing from my Buffalo Chicken Salad recipe. If you’re going to a party, consider bringing these Eggplant Rolls as an appetizer; they’re high in fiber and protein. Plus, they also happen to be a childhood favorite of mine.
Do you have any tips for avoiding overeating during the holidays? If so, please share them in the comments below.