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Holiday Eating

It’s that time of year again. A time of much feasting, fun, and festivities. A time when we are tempted to the limit of endurance with tasty and tender delicacies at Thanksgiving and year-end holiday parties. And by the time the New Year has come around, some of us will have developed extra baggage around our waist and hips. This leads many people to make the ever-popular New Year’s resolution—to go on a diet.

This inevitably leads to the questions: “How can I avoid putting on all this extra weight?” and “Are there any guidelines I can follow that could prevent this potential lifetime problem?” Some strategies are very simple and practical that can help.

Let us start with eating out. Here are some suggestions:

  • Before going to that holiday party or Thanksgiving meal, it pays to plan. Concentrate on eating fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber, low-calorie foods before taking to high-calorie cookies, pies, cakes, ice cream, and candy.
  • Drink water instead of sweetened juices, sodas, or milk beverages, as these drinks can contribute many calories to a meal.
  • Limit the number of cheeses, sauces, toppings, and gravies you use, as these can add a lot of calories.
  • Remember that high-fat foods add more calories to a meal than high-carbohydrate foods. Your body has a much greater capacity for turning excess dietary fat calories into body fat than it does for converting excess carbohydrate calories into body fat.

Minimize your risks

Eating out poses the greatest temptation to consume these high-calorie foods, so greater self-restraint is needed. A festive or holiday occasion usually creates a pleasant atmosphere conducive to overeating.

Entertaining people in your home may allow you to exercise control over what you eat. When planning Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, select lower-calorie food items similar to their high-fat counterparts.

  • Have a selection of raw vegetables instead of crackers and high-fat cheese and cream cheese dips.
  • Use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream.

Other practical suggestions include the following:

  • Broil or bake food items rather than fry them.
  • Choose foods that are higher in fiber and complex carbohydrates (green beans, potatoes, brown rice, lettuce, and tomato salad).
  • Eat a substantial breakfast and lunch to help you avoid gorging for the evening meal.
  • Limit the number of nuts and chips eaten. Remember the saying: “Seconds on the lips, years on the hips.”
  • Don’t be mistaken—the four food groups are not vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, and tutti-frutti.

Following these simple tips for holiday eating will be truly rewarding. Come January, you will not have to worry about how you’re going to lose those extra 10-15 pounds that you’ve added in the previous two months. Keeping your weight down translates into a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

In conclusion, moderation is the key. You CAN celebrate the holiday season with all its delicious food and drink. With a bit of planning and foreknowledge, you can enjoy it with peace of mind, knowing that in the end, there won’t be a need for that New Year’s resolution or that endless dieting that can take the enjoyment out of life.

If you liked this, you might like Healthy Habits 

Winston J. Craig lives in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

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About Winston J. Craig

Winston J. Craig

writes from Michigan.

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