Survival Guide to Holiday Feasting

21 Dec

Does this scenario sounds familiar? After a holiday dinner, relatives on each couch, holding their stomach, groaning, “Oooohhh I ate too much!!!”. Yup. We’ve all been there.  It’s easy to pig out at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, as long as you plan ahead a little bit and follow some simple rules, there’s no reason for December 25th to set you back 5 pounds. (Fun fact: Americans only gain an average of 1 pound from Thanksgiving to New Years. Only 5% gain 5-10 pounds. There is hope!)

1. Take the edge off before a party. Have a small, low fat snack beforehand, such as fruit, cottage cheese, or a half of a sandwich. This will ensure you won’t be starving, and therefore more likely to overeat.

2. Don’t skip meals in order to “save calories”. You’ll be way too hungry when you get to your party and this will lead to consuming more calories than you originally would have. The best thing you can do is keep a normal eating schedule, even if you have to eat lighter the rest of the day.

3. Be conservative at the buffet table. Scope out the table first, deciding on what healthy choices are available before you impulsively scoop mounds of food onto your plate. Try a taste of a bunch of different foods, and decide what you want to have more of. Use a small plate if possible. Wait 20 minutes before going back for more, so your stomach and brain have time to talk to each other and decide if you’re still hungry or not.

4. Converse away from the appetizers. Conversation is calorie-free (ha ha), but be careful not to munch while you talk; you’ll probably have no idea how much you just ate because you were distracted. Sip a low calorie beverage instead.

5. Watch the beverages. Drinks can be a hidden source of a lot of calories that you wouldn’t normally think of. One large glass of eggnog = up to 700 calories, especially if it’s spiked with rum! Have a sparkling water with lime or fruit juice or a diet soda mixer instead. Of course, water is ultimately the best thing to drink because it will keep you hydrated between alcoholic beverages and also helps to keep you feeling full.

And, when buzzed, some of us don’t make the best food choices…! Behold, the Fat Sandwich.

Fat Sandwich Co. Madison, WI. So gross.

6. Keep exercising. Don’t stop your exercise routine now! Find a way to fit it in your schedule. Take a walk with your dog, at the mall, etc. You’ll feel lots better after a big meal when you burn off some calories.

7. Make your recipes healthier. Use some healthier substitutions, such as:

  • 2% milk in place of heavy cream
  • Low fat cheese and dairy products
  • Two egg whites in place of one whole egg
  • Replace half the oil in a baking recipe with plain applesauce
  • Add ice cubes to gravy – the fat will harden around the ice, then scoop the fatty ice cubes out – cool!

8. Be realistic. Strive to maintain your weight around the holidays, because it’s probably not realistic to lose weight with all sorts of good food around you. Don’t put that extra stress on yourself! Balance out holiday meals with eating healthy the days in before, between, and after.

9. Enjoy the holidays and all of the goodies that come with it! There’s no need to deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. After all, it’s only 1 or 2 days of the whole season you get to indulge!

Shandy says Merry Christmas!

Sorry about the lack of pictures. More to come!

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2 Responses to “Survival Guide to Holiday Feasting”

  1. Downtown Brown December 22, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Hi there, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

  2. Deb Persak December 22, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Great tips! I will definitely put those suggestions to use in the next few days because I don’t enjoy that “oh I ate way too much” feeling. I baked your favorite Christmas cookies and can’t wait for you and Pat and Shandy to get here – but we can take Shandy for lots of walks to help burn off some of the cookie calories! Love you lots, Mom

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