Eating Smart During The Holidays To Avoid The Bulge

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Top 5 Holiday Foods to Avoid (for the Sake of Your Waistline)

When you begin to think of the holidays, no doubt your thoughts eventually turn to food. Wonderfully decadent desserts, treats, sweets and cookies make up a big part of many holiday celebrations. The common belief that no work is done on holidays couples with the consumption of a lot of tasty but unhealthy foods to lead to a sedentary enjoyment with our friends and family that can unfortunately pack on the pounds (and the fat).

Accordingly, even the healthiest individuals can feel their belts, dresses, skirts and pants tightening during annual holiday celebrations. They rationalize away their unhealthy eating habits, promising to “get back on track” with a smart dietary approach to begin the new year.

Unfortunately, their friends, coworkers and family members also indulge this attitude. This means fat-boosting, heart-unhealthy, energy-robbing foods are the norm when you get together to celebrate the holidays.

Don’t regret the start of the new year. Take control over your eating habits when this year’s holiday celebrations roll around. Eat as little as possible of the following top 5 holiday foods you should avoid for the sake of your waistline.

1 – Sauces

Sauces accompany many holiday foods. Unfortunately, they are often filled with sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, and tons of bad carbohydrates and calories. Limit your sauce intake during the holiday celebration to avoid adding inches to your waist.

2 – Alcohol and Beer

Okay, so these are beverages and not foods. However, many holiday get-togethers focus around consuming adult beverages. The sugar present in alcohol turns almost immediately to fat. Alcohol and beer both deliver empty calories. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine, a mixed drink or your favorite beer when celebrating. Just don’t overdo it, and you won’t be shopping for bigger pants come New Year’s.

Pies, Cakes and Cookies

Okay, before you throw your hands up in revolt, think about this for a minute. Cakes, cookies and pies often claim sugar as a major ingredient. Many health experts believe sugar is almost single-handedly responsible for the obesity epidemic in the world today. Eat selectively, and enjoy your favorite cake or pie during the holidays. Just don’t overdo it.

Egg Nog

Egg nog is a holiday season favorite in many cultures. However, 1 small cup of eggnog can deliver as many as 600 calories, and is filled with eggs, liquor, cream and sugar.

Potatoes, mashed and otherwise

Potatoes are not simple carbohydrates. However, your body treats them as such. This means over-consuming mashed potatoes, baked potatoes and fried potatoes during the holidays leads to fat gain. As with all of the above foods, eat in moderation.

Pile your plate with whole grains, quinoa, raw fruits, vegetables and seafood. Eat a salad with light dressing before you hit the Christmas party. Eat as much meat and poultry as you like, but skip the gravy. These simple tips, combined with avoiding the foods mentioned above, will keep you from having to buy “fat clothes” when the holiday season is over.

8 Healthier Holiday Foods That You Can Indulge in Guilt-Free

Most people don’t want to hear what they can’t eat during the festive holidays, but there some alternatives to the high calorie comfort foods in a traditional holiday meal that you can make that won’t leave you or your guests feeling guilty afterwards, but still full. In some cases, it is making a low calorie/low fat substitution or two to your normal fare. Let’s take the traditional turkey holiday meal and see what healthy substitutions we can make.

1. For example substitute applesauce in your pumpkin muffins on your snack tray in place of the oil you normally use. Not only does it cut down the fat and calories, but it keeps them more moist.

2. Another good substitution that nobody will even notice is to use fat-free chicken broth in place of turkey drippings for your gravy. You’ll cut the calories from 100 to 15 per cup along with cutting out over four grams of fat.

3. Turkey breast is naturally low in calories and fat at 34 calories per 33 gram (1 ounce) serving and 1 gram of saturated fat, so there isn’t much to change there.

4. Mashed potatoes has to the all-time great holiday comfort food but when made the traditional way are full of high calorie/high fat ingredients. To make them healthier, substitute olive oil for butter and nonfat sour cream for buttermilk.

5. What is a holiday meal without sweet potatoes.  But when made with butter and topped with marshmallows, it can be a calorie disaster. Instead, this year try roasting your sweet potatoes. Just search Google for sample recipes.

6. Cranberries are naturally low in sugar, but many recipes add large amounts of sugar to make them sweet. To cut down on the amount of sugar, replace the one cup you normally use with 1/4 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of Stevia in the Raw®.

7. Lighten up your stuffing by using olive oil and fat-free chicken broth. Also add in flavorful, but filling, nuts, dried fruits, celery or carrots. It adds bulk to the dish, but without many calories.

8. You have to have pumpkin pie for dessert. But you can make it healthier by substituting low-fat or fat-free milk in place of whole milk and egg substitutes in place of real eggs into your normal recipe.

As a test, don’t tell your guests ahead of time about the substitutions you made. After the meal ask them about the dishes and what they thought about each one. Then tell them about the changes you made. They will be amazed and in most cases not notice any appreciable difference in taste or texture.

How to Practice Mindful Eating During the Holidays

Are you mindfully aware of what and how much you eat during the holidays? It is easy to steer off the path of sound eating habits at this festive time of year. It is also just as easy to take responsibility for your nutritional approach. The following tips will help you take back control of your holiday eating behavior, while still enjoying this special time of year.

Understand what “mindful eating” is. This is the term dietitians and other health experts use to describe paying attention to what you put into your body. It means consciously taking notice of every single thing you eat and drink, no matter how small the quantity.

As Dr. Michelle May puts it, “Save the stuffing for the turkey.” In other words, practice portion control. The problem with many children, teens and adults these days is we ate way too much at each serving. Don’t overload your plate. Especially where treats and dessert are concerned, enjoy small portions.

Take time to enjoy your meal. Talk to those around you. Eat slowly, and let your body fill up naturally. Many times you over-consume during the holidays because you don’t give yourself enough time to feel full.

Take smaller bites. Serve yourself on a saucer instead of a dinner plate. Choose a glass or beverage container that holds 12 ounces instead of 24 ounces. These seemingly insignificant steps can lead to a mindful awareness of just what and how much and what you are eating.

It may sound simple, but be aware of whether you are actually hungry or not. If you think you are hungry, it could be because of all the wonderful looking and smelling foods that surround you. Many times, you are experiencing false hunger signals. Try this the next time you feel like you may be hungry during a holiday celebration. Drink 12 to 16 ounces of water, move out of the site of any food and wait 10 minutes. If you are still hungry, go ahead and eat.

Put your utensils down between bites. If you are spearing another forkful of food while still chewing your current mouthful, you are already focusing on your next bite.

After filling your plate, walk away from the food supply. The problem with eating at a table that is filled with wonderfully delicious looking, smelling and tasting food is that you can just reach out and get more.

Have a conversation with yourself. Silently tell yourself that you can always eat more later. Remind yourself of your health and fitness goals. To be mindfully aware of your eating habits during the holidays, you must constantly talk to yourself about the experience.

6 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Unfortunately, the holiday season can mean stress and weight gain. You already have a very busy life. There are literally dozens of things you need to accomplish on a daily basis, and many days start off with you completing tasks that were due yesterday. With all the planning, shopping, party hosting and attending the holidays bring, your already stressed mental state can become even more anxious.

Then of course you are faced with all of the wonderfully tasty, but not always healthy, foods that the holidays bring. Pumpkin pies, dressing with gravy, sugary treats, alcohol-rich beverages and other foods seem to go straight to your waistline.

Coupled with the busy holiday season, this means your mental and physical health can be impacted negatively. Keep the following tips in mind and you can make it through the holidays with enjoyable memories, and without unhealthy consequences.

Eat Before You Go out to Eat

For years, Dr. Oz has eaten a small bowl of soup before he enjoys dinner away from home. You can do the same, eating a small salad or a bowl of soup before heading to a party where you know holiday food is offered. This limits your caloric intake, as well as the amount of sugar you eat during the holidays.

Plan for Emotional Well-Being

Weight gain is not the only health problem the holidays often bring. You can become incredibly stressed due to any number of factors. Why not plan to feel stress-free, calm and happy this holiday season? Begin planning your holiday activities and celebrations well in advance.

Shop throughout the year, instead of waiting til the last minute. Maybe there are certain individuals that really fire up your negative emotions … avoid them during the holidays. When you take the time to plan your holiday celebrations, you improve your chances of mental health and well-being.

Think Smart Portion Sizes

If you try to absolutely avoid the holiday treats you love, you may not enjoy this special time of year. Take a slice of pecan pie, but skip the ice cream on top. Eat a few of your favorite holiday cookies. Whatever your holiday favorites, eat smart portion sizes and you won’t regret these seasonal get-togethers and the wonderful food which is often a part of them.

Drink Lots of Water

The human body needs at least 1 gallon of water to be ingested on a daily basis for optimal health. Water cleanses your body of waste products. It helps oxygenate your body from head to toe. Water is also required for proper brain function. It delivers a 0 calorie dietary punch, and is an integral part of healthy weight management.

Be Careful With the Caffeine

Holiday celebrations often mean late night parties. This may cause you to reach for the coffee as a way to revive in the morning. Four to eight ounces of coffee is all that is recommended. Also, skip the fat boosting sugar and cream. Limit the amount of caffeine rich tea you drink during your holiday celebrations as well, opting for healthy green tea instead.

Understand What Alcohol Does to Your Body

The human body can function perfectly without one drop of alcohol. As far as a health problem associated with the holiday season, alcohol is a major culprit. Just 1 gram of alcohol delivers a full 7 calories. So your daily caloric intake is dramatically impacted when you drink a mixed drink, a glass of wine or your favorite beer. Alcohol also naturally reduces your body’s ability to burn fat, and is sugar rich, another health problem you want to avoid during the holidays.

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