Healthy Holidays

By Lauren Hirschfeld / September 7, 2011

Before a holiday party, eat a snack or light meal high in protein and complex carbohydrates, like a small apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, to prevent you from giving into temptation later. You will be able to enjoy yourself more if you have a stable blood sugar level to curb your appetite, instead of wanting to eat the first thing you see — no matter how caloric it is.

Enjoy the foods you love, but in smaller portions. That way, you will not feel deprived and potentially overeat later on. If you know you are going to want to indulge in your neighbor’s famous thumbprint cookies, plan ahead and cut back on other things like high-calorie cocktails or the baked brie appetizer.

Pay attention to what you are drinking. Alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate, egg nog, and punches can be loaded with empty calories. Worse, alcohol can lessen inhibitions and you may be even more likely to overindulge. Choose lower calorie drinks that are still festive, such as hot apple cider. Love your wine over the holiday season? Try a wine spritzer instead. Just mix one part wine with one part club soda. It gives the same festive feel with half the calories.

After a meal, go for a walk with your family to see holiday displays in your neighborhood, or take advantage of the busy shopping season and burn some extra calories. No matter what you do, try to keep moving. Even small bouts of physical activity can add up to a lot of calories burned, with an added bonus of stress relief.

Be realistic. Don’t try to lose weight during this time of the year. Your goal should be to maintain your present weight.

Relax. Although the holidays are meant to be a fun time for family and friends to get together, it can be a very stressful time for some people. Work in some extra time just for you. Stress can be a trigger for overeating, so do what you have to do to keep yourself stress-free. It may seem like a little of a sacrifice, but in the long run your mind and your body will thank you.

Lauren Hirschfeld
Lauren Hirschfeld

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