(Logan, UT) November 23, 2010. From plentiful family feasts to splendid potluck parties the holidays present loads of opportunities to eat. As a result, statistics show the average person in the United States will gain 5-6 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. “Most of our holiday gatherings have food as a primary focus,” said Terel Anderson, Logan Regional Hospital registered dietitian, “but they also bring opportunities for socializing, making memories, and enjoying the festive atmosphere. Focusing more on the fun than the food is one way to minimize weight gain during the holidays.”
Anderson and her colleagues from Logan Regional Hospital’s Nutrition Services provide the following tips to help you enjoy the foods you love during the holidays and still maintain control of your weight:
- Focus more on the fun rather than the food. The holidays are a wonderful time for socializing, making memories, and enjoying the festive atmosphere. Give those things more attention than you give the food.
- Plan. Know what kinds of activities your day will involve and what foods you’ll be offered. Eat balanced healthy meals throughout the day and don’t skip meals.
- Modify your favorite recipes. With a little creativity and planning, most recipes can be altered to decrease calories with little or no change in taste or texture.
- Eat on a schedule. Starving yourself for an upcoming party doesn’t really work. Usually, you end up eating more than you would have if you had eaten balanced meals throughout the day.
- Stock smart choices. You will eat what you have so stock your home pantry wisely.
- Practice mindful eating. Choose what matters most to you. Plan ahead and think things through. Every choice counts. If you choose some high calorie foods eat slowly, enjoy them, and adjust your next choice.
- Track your eating. Online resources and food labels can give you a good idea as to the nutritional and caloric content of the foods you’re eating; even most restaurants post nutritional information for their menus now. The point is to know what and how much you’re eating. Don’t forget to include all BLT’s (bites, licks, and tastes).
- Exercise. Exercise boosts immunity, burns calories, improves mental health, and encourages restraint. Schedule time for physical activity during the holidays.
“Getting proper nutrition and exercising is not something we should do just during the holidays but all year long to help develop long-term weight management abilities and reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes” said Vickie Tilley, Logan Regional certified diabetic educator and registered nurse. She said a recent study released by the federal government predicts that by 2050, if current trends continue, the number of American adults with type 2 diabetes will double or triple.
Logan Regional offers a variety of weight management and nutrition education services for the community, including education from a registered nurse and individual counseling from a registered dietitian on diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, eating disorders, pregnancy, and other nutrition-related health issues. Community members can contact the hospital’s Nutrition Services for more information on these programs at (435) 716-5329.