It is one of the hardest things to maintain during the holidays…. our weight:). Some studies have shown that we gain an average of 5 to 7 pounds during the holiday season. How do you fight the battle of the bulge when you are eating at all of the office parties, family gatherings and holiday events?
On my Noon Focus interview segment, I received some tips from Jill Frame – a registered dietitian with the St. Francis Weight Loss Center. The Center offers 12 ways to watch your waistline, in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.
1. Take the focus off food. Instead of baking cookies with your children, create non-edible projects like wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house.
2. Plan to maintain your weight over the holidays. Decide which treat is worth the calories, take a smaller portion, and savor every single bite.
3. Think ahead to make mealtimes less hurried. On a cold, wintery night, few things say comfort like a bowl of hot soup, paired with crusty, whole-grain bread. Start a pot simmering on the stove or in the slow cooker while you spend the day decorating the tree, addressing cards or doing any other holiday preparations. Add a piece of fruit and a cup of milk, and you have a well-balanced meal.
4. Experiment with seasonal produce to lighten up your meals. Consider chutneys as an accompaniment to meats, slices of pears or oranges in your salad, cranberries or dried fruits in rice pilaf, or apple sauce substituted for some of the fats in your baking. A little creativity can go a long way toward heightening taste and sneaking in your produce needs in your diet.
5. Plan for parties. Don’t starve yourself the day of the party so you can fill up on food that evening. If you eat normally throughout the day, you’re much less likely to overeat at the party.
6. Lighten up. Substitute spices and fresh herbs for seasoning rather than fat and salt.
7. Make exercise time play time. Enjoy an afternoon of football, sledding, ice skating or playing in the snow. Or even enjoy the holiday lights while taking a long evening walk.
8. Discover different dips. Who says dips have to be high-fat and joined by chips? Replace cream cheese with silken tofu, or experiment with dips made with nonfat cream cheese or sour cream. Pair with vegetable spears or baked pita chips.
9. Watch your appetizers. Limit high-fat choices such as fried chicken wings, miniature sausages and most cheeses. Choose fruits and vegetables instead.
10. Enjoy the mall. While shopping, stretch your legs and squeeze in some exercise in a warm, dry environment.
11. Be a happy host. Balance your famous cookies with healthier options. Grab a fruit or vegetable tray from the store. Be sure to send your leftovers home with guests.
12. Have a healthy holiday spirit. Cocktails, “real” eggnog and other holiday drinks quickly add up in calories. Alternatives include sparkling or hot apple cider, light eggnog or seltzer mixed with fruit juices.
With a little creativity, you can start the new year without quite as many pounds to lose come Jan. 1 – and might just find a new tradition in the process.
Now, if you have some holiday eating tips, share them with me. We might even be able to share some of them on our air and give you credit, if you leave your name and location.
Also, if you have any community issues, events or organizations that you think we should profile on our Focus interview segment at Noon, please let me know. We love to hear from you.
And join with Channel 13 this year to support the United Christmas Service campaign from United Way. You can donate money, ‘adopt a family’ or buy a Channel 13 Sunrise Cookbook at any area Marsh or O’Malia’s store. All proceeds benefit the United Christmas Service which gives money to families in need so that their children can enjoy the holidays. Click here for more information.
WTHR Community Affairs Director