Skip to main content
Explore URMC
menu
URMC / Food and Nutrition Services / Eating Tip of the Month
 

Holiday Nutrition

Ask the Dietitian: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

            Surveys done on this topic show on average adults gain between 1-5 lb during the holiday season (in addition to general weight gain over the year). Healthy eating around the holiday is possible by keeping a few things in mind, read more in our Q and A with Registered Dietitian, Katie Schneider.

Q: What are the key things I should keep in mind to prevent overeating at all the holiday parties coming up?

A: Remember Portion Size!

  1. Choose small portions of high calories dishes that you want to splurge on, offset those with salads, and lower calorie options.
  2. Use smaller plates if available when at a buffet-style party. If you have a large plate you will be tempted to fill the entire thing, even if you aren’t that hungry.

And Eat slowly!

  1. It takes about 20 min for your brain to register that your stomach is full; take your time eating to avoid becoming overly full and ingesting more than you need.

 

Q: So what’s an easy way to do this and still have a great time out?

A: Plan ahead

  1. Plan ahead, if you are cooking the meal yourself or bringing a dish to share make healthy substitutions or choose a new recipe that promises to add nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.
  2. Don’t arrive to a holiday party on an empty stomach- starving yourself before you arrive will increase the likelihood that you will overeat once you are there
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask what ingredients are used, choices made with heavy cream, cheese, gravy, meats, and added butter will be more calorie dense.

A: Watch your Beverages

  1. Watch your beverage choices- sugar sweetened beverages and alcohol can add a significant amount of calories and added sugar to your meal
  2. Your brain doesn’t recognize the amount of calories in drinks like it does with food so you will end up taking in more energy than you need

 

Q: Should I get a jumpstart on the New Year by starting a diet now to keep me on track?

A: Don’t Diet.

  1. Make realistic goals. You don’t have to diet during the holidays – it is not the time to place added stress on yourself by attempting to lose weight. Focus on weight management, which means preventing weight gain.
  2. Make healthy substitutions to recipes
    1. Fruit puree in place of oil in cakes, brownies, bread, or muffins. Ex. Applesauce
    2. Egg whites (1 egg= 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute)
    3. Fat free vanilla yogurt in place of whipped cream
    4. Low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
    5. In dips use fat free plain yogurt or sour cream

 

Q: OK, but how do I avoid all the tempting sweets and snacks?

A: Stay hydrated and be informed on what your snack contains!

  1. Stay hydrated with H2O to avoid food cravings
  2. Avoid high calorie snacking:
    1. 5 one inch cubes of cheese with crackers= 500 calories
    2. 2 handfuls (1/2 cup) of mixed nuts= 450 calories, 40 g fat
    3. 2 T. ranch or blue cheese dressing = 150 calories

 

Surveys done on this topic show on average adults gain between 1-5 lb during the holiday season (in addition to general weight gain over the year)

Healthy eating around the holiday is possible by keeping a few things in mind