Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the holidays that I most connect with food.  Ghosts, goblins, pumpkins and Halloween candy.  Family, friends, stuffed turkey and pumpkin pie.  Presents, Christmas cookies and stockings filled with all types of chocolate candy.  Holiday entertaining just seems to go hand in hand with delicious holiday food.  Of course, delicious holiday meals can result in extra weight and jeans that are too tight come January.  Can we enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived and still manage to maintain our weight? Yes, we can!

How to prevent weight gain during the holidays:

  1. Don’t go out with an empty stomach. Before you head to the office Christmas party, have a balanced meal or snack that includes vegetables and protein to help fill you up.  You will be less likely to nibble if you aren’t starving to death when you arrive. My choice before heading out is a small salad topped with grilled chicken breast.
  2. If you have the chance to nibble and graze, put your food on a plate first.  It’s much easier to judge how much you’re eating if you see it piled on your plate rather than taking a cookie here, a piece of cheese there and “just one” piece of candy.  Nibbling can quickly mount up to much more food than you thought you were eating.
  3. If you are going for a sit down dinner, decide what you’re going to splurge on before you go.  Enjoying a glass of wine, appetizer, seconds on the main course, and two desserts will likely not be a good choice.  If you know your favorite dessert will be offered, consider skipping the appetizer or glass of wine so you can enjoy it without guilt.
  4. Watch the carbs.  Much of weight gain comes from our over indulgence in carbohydrates. There is no need for stuffing, pasta, rolls and potatoes all in one meal. Consider which one will bring you the most enjoyment and have that.  Skip the others and replace them with steamed vegetables or a fruit cup instead.
  5. If you do end up over eating, don’t beat yourself up too much. You would need to consume 5000 calories in one day to gain a pound immediately.  Any weight gain the next morning is likely to be from bloating. Drink water and reduce your sodium intake.  Take a walk to get your metabolism geared up and cut your calories over the next week or so to make up for the holiday splurge.