Holiday Nutrition Pocket Guide

Pick up this pocket-sized guide at your next appointment!


1. DON’T Skip Meals.

A common strategy during the holidays is to skip breakfast – and lunch – because you know a big meal is coming, so you ‘save up’ the calories for the celebration.  This strategy backfires, because you come to the meal starving and wind up eating way more than you ever intended.

2. WATCH Your Portions.

Many people lose weight and keep it off with the simple strategy of portion control.  Eliminating or even limiting certain foods is brutally hard during the holidays.  So do the next best thing: Eat reasonably small portions, limit the foods you know you should limit, and don’t stuff yourself.

3. STAY Hyrdated.

Often, when we crave food, it’s not really hunger that’s driving the urge – it’s mild dehydration.  So drink tons of water.  A slice of orange, lemon or lime will flavor the water and cut your cravings; flavored non-caloric seltzers accomplish the same thing.

4. EAT Slowly.

Hormones signal the brain when you’re full, but it takes about 20 minutes from start time before you feel it.  Slowly eating not only aids in digestion but also gives your brain a chance to know what the stomach is doing.  If you make the meal last, by talking, putting down your fork between bites or just plain waiting, you’re less likely to eat on ‘automatic pilot’ and more likely to realize you’re full.

5. REPLACE Sweet with Spicy.

Cravings for sweets sometimes evaporate when you put something pickled or spicy in your mouth.  It’s okay to indulge the occasional sweet craving, but eat something spicy or pickled first and you may find you no longer want to.

6. LOAD Up On Greens.

Fiber is your secret weapon.  Not only is fiber supremely healthy and directly related to the reduction of risks for a whole host of diseases, it is a huge player in the weight-loss field.  It also contributes to a feeling of fullness.

7. FINISH Your Holiday Meals In An Hour.

The body produces a second insulin hit if it senses a lot of food coming in continuously.  You can avoid that second hit (and the subsequent fat storage that it triggers) by finishing within an hour of starting.  If you see something you like that you forgot to eat within the hour, that’s fine; just save it for tomorrow.  It’ll still be there, and you won’t be wearing it on your hips.

8. PLAN Ahead.

During the holidays, try to plan around when you’re going, what temptations are likely to arise and how you’re going to deal with them.  Decide in advance what you’re going to allow yourself, but prepare for it so you don’t go overboard.  Don’t be afraid to taste things without finishing them.

9. DON’T Show Up Hungry.

You know what foods you need to stay away from.  Well, those foods are a lot harder to resist when you’re starving and your blood sugar is in the pits.  Eat a meal or healthy snack before the party.  Try this an hour or so before the big holiday dinner and watch your willpower soar while your waistline stays in place.

10. DON’T Deprive Yourself.

Apply the 80/20 rule.  Eat healthy 80% of the time, the other 20% of the time – ‘go to town’, indulge!  Give yourself permission to ‘go all out’ on a meal/party twice a week.  Then get back into your routine.

Excerpted from http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com

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