It’s vacation time again! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate; However, it can also be difficult for those trying to lose or maintain weight.
Baylor College of Medicine nutritionists advise enjoying most things, but remember to do them in moderation. Make a plan and try to stick to it!
The following tips were designed for people who have had weight loss surgery, but most of them can be applied to anyone this holiday season trying to stick to their diet and nutrition.
1. Stick to a schedule.
Skipping meals to save calories is an easy way to delay the arrival of food, especially sweets. Try to stick to a regular meal schedule to avoid going to parties hungry, which almost always leads to overeating.
2. Continue to exercise regularly.
Even when things are busy, don’t drop your exercise habit until the holidays are over. Go out for a walk and look at the lights displayed in your neighborhood or area.
3. Continue to follow the ground rules.
A holiday meal should be considered your typical everyday meal. Prioritize your meals! Protein first, chew food well and eat slowly. Remember to keep your food and drink separated by at least 30 minutes.
4. Drink lots of water.
Stay hydrated! Watch the alcohol. Not only is alcohol absorbed much faster after weight loss surgery and you can’t eat and drink together, which will have an increased effect, but it’s also full of empty calories.
5. Bring a dish to share.
This way you know there will be a healthier option that you can tolerate without difficulty. You can still enjoy the festivities and not feel out of place because there is nothing to eat.
6. Pack your own treats.
Stock up on nutritious snacks so you’re less tempted by all the cakes and cookies that may be present during the holidays. (Avoid break rooms if necessary.)
7. But if you want dessert or other dishes you wouldn’t usually eat…
- Save the best for last – load up on protein and veggies first. You may not have room for other items.
- Choose the dessert or item you rarely encounter and make the choice for the “extra” item you eat.
- Stick to a very small portion – the first bite tastes just like the last. So, enjoy a few bites and that might be all you need to feel full!
8. Pay attention.
It’s easy to overdo it when there’s food and you’re socializing. Focus on the conversation and save eating for later. Avoid standing next to the dining table. When it’s time to eat, focus on that. You’ll probably appreciate it better and when you can eat slowly and savor what you eat!
9. Trade this for that…
You can still feel part of the holiday celebration without compromising your goals.
|Holiday Food (per serving)||Healthy Exchange (per serving)|
|Champagne (100 calories)||Blueberry sparkling water (5kcal)|
|Creamy mashed potatoes (350 kcal)||Cauliflower puree (100 kcal)|
|Candied sweet potatoes (275 kcal)||Maple Sweet Potato Casserole (lower calories)|
|Traditional corn bread (200 kcal)||Greek yogurt/cornbread made with whole wheat flour (lower calories)|
|Casserole of green beans (150 kcal)||Roasted green beans with lemon and salt (35 kca)|
|Pecan pie (500 kcal)||Dates stuffed with pecan nuts (150 kcal)|
- You can also add flavor with spices, herbs and garlic instead of fat (butter, sauce)
- Use skim milk instead of whole milk in recipes
- Replace sugar with unsweetened applesauce or natural sweeteners, such as Stevia or Swerve
By Rachel Griehs, Registered Dietitian at Baylor Medicine’s Weight Loss and Metabolic Center.
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