Tags: Health Topics | holiday | thanksgiving | recipes | healthy eating

Holiday Hacks to Keep You Healthy

Holiday Hacks to Keep You Healthy


By    |   Wednesday, 23 November 2016 11:00 AM

The holidays might not be the best time to think about losing weight, but they should not be cause for undue stress or anxiety over weight gain either. You can indulge and not wreak havoc on your goals or waistline with a little preplanning.

Let's face it — you're probably going to take in far more calories than you're used to; in fact, according the Calorie Control Council (yes, there is such a thing — it's an organization geared toward health eating), the average American will consume 4,5,00 calories for Thanksgiving dinner with nearly 229 grams of fat. That's a mouthful.

With that in mind, make sure you have a holiday game plan. Keep it simple — something you can easily remember. Dr. Robert Silverman, a sports nutritionist and author of the best-seller Inside Out Health, says, for example, no more than four rules are necessary: exercise, skip fasting, start small, and buddy up with another healthy eater, whenever possible.

Here's his breakdown:

  • Don't skip exercise: “Sitting is the new smoking,” Silverman says. And he's not alone. Many experts agree with the claim. Exercise is your best defense against holiday stress, weight gain, and seasonal depression. And you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits. Try to do 10-minute bouts of exercise in increments throughout the day. Silverman says the best exercises, such as squats, planks, yoga poses, lunges, and push-ups, do not require any special equipment and can literally be done anywhere. But there's one thing everyone can enjoy: short walks. Get the whole family moving — head to the park. Walking is a sure-fire way to burn those calories.
  • Don’t fast: Depriving yourself of breakfast and lunch will only lead you to become ravenous by the time dinner rolls around, says Silverman. Research bears this out: You'll eat far more and much faster, leading to a higher calorie count. Pace yourself throughout the day so your metabolism remains active — burning calories as you go. Eat normally, especially loading up on lean protein (turkey is great here!), along with fruits, and vegetables a powerful combination that will prevent a spike in glucose levels. But if you do overindulge in the desserts, just review the exercise section above. Get out and move!
  • Do start small: Serve your food on smaller plates. This might sound silly, but it's a proven tactic: You'll put less food on your plate in addition to encouraging proper portion-size. If you can, start by filling your plate with vegetables and salads before loading up on fatty entrees and desserts. The same principle goes for drinks. Use a tall skinny glass for your beverages. Silverman points to studies at Cornell that show people are more likely to pour 30 percent more liquid into squatter vessels.
  • Pick a pal: Sit next to a fellow healthy eater and encourage one another. Wait for all the food to be on the table or scan the whole buffet table before making your selections. Remind yourself what you've eaten and you might just skip another round of eggnog. But remember — forgive yourself too. For a simple way to do that, just see my first tip above: exercise.

Here's another way to maintain a healthy mindset: Use an acronym. Try SLIM.

  • Small plates: Use small plates for your servings — you'll trick yourself with a full smaller plate.
  • Lighter fare: Shoot for the fruity desserts rather than sugary, fat-filled ones.
  • Ingredients: When preparing, try to substitute healthy ingredients for fat and sugar. Applesauce is one way to do it. Yogurt in place of sour cream is another.
  • Meatless: Be sure to take in at least two meatless dishes. That means find two vegetable ones. Pick your favorites!

As for the actual event, eat slowly then break. You might find you are full. That's because it takes a minute before your stomach send a message of fullness to your brain. After eating, make sure you engage in exercise for a specific period of time, say 30 minutes. That’s means you will be walking for 30 minutes, or setting up holiday lights for 30 minutes. You'll feel better too — burning off some of those calories.

Plan for your party. The Calorie Control Council (CalorieControl.org) has some keen ideas on preparing foods. That way, you can have a say in what goes in your mouth. Whether you are a guest, or the host, if you are bringing or providing, you can make cranberry sauce, potato casseroles — even apple pie — with less sugar and more goodness. Use applesauce in place of sugar and fat when possible. Your waist will thank you.

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The holidays might not be the best time to think about losing weight, but they should not be cause for undue stress or anxiety over weight gain either. You can indulge and not wreak havoc on your goals or waistline with a little preplanning.
holiday, thanksgiving, recipes, healthy eating
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 11:00 AM
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