November marks the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah falling on the same day this year. That means a double dose of calories between the turkey and latkes!
Then there are holiday parties, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. By January, many of us will resolve to lose the one to three pounds or more we gained over the holidays.
However, the holidays don’t have to be synonymous with weight gain, especially if you approach them with a sound game plan.
Here are some tips to keep that holiday pound cake from becoming extra pounds.
• Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, in anticipation of eating larger holiday meals later on. Research shows people who eat a healthy breakfast tend to consumer fewer calories during the day.
• Plan smaller, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can eat without guilt – or surpassing your daily calorie count – at holiday gatherings.
• Eat a “pre-game snack.” Healthy snacks, such as fruit or vegetables, can help curb your appetite and keep you from overindulging at the party.
• Be mindful of portion sizes, including only a fist-size serving of meat. Using smaller plates at the buffet line can help limit portion sizes, as long as you also limit your return trips.
• Take smaller amounts of different foods from the buffet and mix in healthy choices, such as fruits and vegetables, to help satisfy your hunger.
• Watch your beverage consumption as well. Drinking water or calorie-free sparkling water can leave more room for food.
• Try sampling desserts, which tend to be high in calories, instead of eating the entire thing. Just a taste won’t go to your waist!
Additionally, remember that healthy eating is only half the battle. You also need to stay physically active. Try these easy steps to burn more holiday calories:
• When shopping, park farther away from the entrance to increase your amount of walking.
• Make time for your exercise routine, even during the busy holidays. No time for the gym? Substitute other activities in its place.
• Take a walk after large holiday meals. Walking offers numerous health benefits and will help burn those additional holiday calories.
Following these simple steps will help you pack lighter this holiday season. Happy holidays!
Dr. Sonja Rosen is a board-certified geriatrician with the highly regarded UCLA Geriatrics Program and medical director of the Geriatrics Unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. For more information, call 310.319.4371 or visit www.uclahealth.org.