Whether you count calories or carbs, it’s easy to slip up during the holidays. The temptation starts with Halloween candy and continues with Thanksgiving and Christmas, through New Year’s and beyond to Super Bowl festivities and Valentine’s Day chocolates. Add to that the demanding holiday schedules and the urge to stay inside because of the cold weather, and you have a recipe for more calories and less activity.
Here are five tips for helping you navigate the holiday season successfully:
Tip #1: Spoil Your Supper
Do not skip meals and snacks in anticipation of eating more later. Grab an apple, or warm up some vegetable soup before the event and you will not be as likely to over indulge. Skipping meals signals your appetite to be stronger when food is available.
Tip #2: Chew While You Chop
"Those little bites and tastes you take while cooking can add up to hundreds of calories," says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D., the director of wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Avoid nibbling by popping a piece of gum to occupy your mouth while you’re in the kitchen so you can save those calories for the treats you’ll really enjoy. Researchers at Louisiana State University discovered that people who chewed gum throughout the afternoon were less likely to snack mindlessly than those who didn't.
Tip #3: Be a Picky Eater
Choose only what really looks good to you; don’t waste calories on something that just tastes okay. Ask yourself if the food you are eating is worth it. Take a bite; rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. If you score it as an 8 or above, finish that item. If not, leave it on your plate because it’s not worth the calories.
Tip #4: Take Dainty Bites
A recent study in the journal Appetite found that women who followed strict diets were more vulnerable to temptation—and weight gain—than those who indulged on occasion. So this year, try something different: eat the foods you love (in moderation, of course).
Tip #5: Think Before you Eat
Choosing a few lower calorie choices in exchange for higher calorie choices can really add up. These choices can make a big difference in your calorie intake, while leaving your satisfaction intact. Give it a try!
If all else fails:
Mistakes and disappointments are normal! If you do have a lapse in judgment, or fall short of the goals you set for yourself, remember that you will be okay. Pick yourself back up and keep trying. Get back to your goals as soon as you can so you can prevent further problems.
Have a happy holiday