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Survive holiday eating without adding any extra pounds

December 18, 2012|Lynn Little

Here are some tips to be merry and survive holiday eating without adding extra pounds:


 Breakfast first. Eating breakfast will ensure you are less likely to overeat throughout the day. Keep refined carbs-bagels and muffins-to a minimum. If you eat those, cut them in half because they boost your sugar and fat consumption.

 Plan ahead. When you know you'll be eating away from home, eat a simple salad, bowl of soup or apple ahead of time to curb your appetite. To manage holiday events without overindulging, eat regular meals and perhaps a snack before a late afternoon or evening event. Don't save up your day's calories by skipping breakfast and lunch in order to eat more at a party or holiday meal. You will be more likely to overeat. 

 Drink to your health. Drink one or two glasses of water or a hot cup of tea before going to a party or buffet to quench your thirst and fill up. Moderate your alcohol consumption, it is laden with calories. A 12-ounce serving of beer has about 150 calories; a 5-ounce serving of wine averages 100 calories, and an 8-ounce serving of eggnog has 200 to 300 calories. Make every other drink sparkling water, tea or coffee.

When you arrive at a party featuring a buffet or munchies it's easy to get caught up in conversations and eat mindlessly. Before you know it you're stuffed with no idea how much you've eaten. Be in charge of what goes in your mouth. First enjoy foods that fill you up without filling you out. Choose foods high in water and fiber such as fruit and veggies. If you bring a veggie or fruit plate to share, make a savory or fruit-flavored yogurt dip to go with it.

 Focus on best choices. Do a walk-around at buffets. Check out all the options before deciding what you will eat and stick to it. Go easy on dishes with sauces, gravies, butter and whipped cream; those ingredients are little more than calories and fat. Spicy dishes are a good choice because you are less likely to eat too much. Give yourself a treat for making smart choices. Enjoy that one food you really love-in moderation.

 Choose a small plate to sample rather than overindulge. Take the time to enjoy every bite. Eat slowly and try to wait 20 minutes before going for seconds. It takes about 20 minutes after eating for the body to signal the brain that your hunger is satisfied.

 Plan ahead. When you know you'll be eating away from home, eat a simple salad, bowl of soup or apple ahead of time to curb your appetite. To manage holiday events without overindulging, eat regular meals and perhaps a snack before a late afternoon or evening event. Don't save up your day's calories by skipping breakfast and lunch in order to eat more at a party or holiday meal. You will be more likely to overeat. 

 Drink to your health. Drink one or two glasses of water or a hot cup of tea before going to a party or buffet to quench your thirst and fill up. Moderate your alcohol consumption, it is laden with calories. A 12-ounce serving of beer has about 150 calories; a five-ounce serving of wine averages 100 calories, and an 8-ounce serving of eggnog has 200 to 300 calories. Make every other drink sparkling water, tea or coffee.

When you arrive at a party featuring a buffet or munchies it's easy to get caught up in conversations and eat mindlessly. Before you know it you're stuffed with no idea how much you've eaten. Be in charge of what goes in your mouth. First enjoy foods that fill you up without filling you out. Choose foods high in water and fiber such as fruit and veggies. If you bring a veggie or fruit plate to share, make a savory or fruit-flavored yogurt dip to go with it.

 Focus on best choices. Do a walk-around at buffets. Check out all the options before deciding what you will eat and stick to it. Go easy on dishes with sauces, gravies, butter and whipped cream; those ingredients are little more than calories and fat. Spicy dishes are a good choice because you are less likely to eat too much. Give yourself a treat for making smart choices. Enjoy that one food you really love-in moderation.

 Choose a small plate to sample rather than overindulge. Take the time to enjoy every bite. Eat slowly and try to wait 20 minutes before going for seconds. It takes about 20 minutes after eating for the body to signal the brain that your hunger is satisfied. 

 Trick yourself. Hold your glass in your dominant hand, which makes it harder to mindlessly grab for the bowl of munchies. Position yourself away from food and focus on conversation with friends and family. 

 Traditional holiday foods often are high in calories, with more sugar and fat than most people normally eat. When not overly hungry, you are able to pick and choose rather than overindulge in high-calorie, high-fat foods allowing you to enjoy holiday meals and parties without adding extra pounds.



Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

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