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!
- Choose small portions of high calories dishes that you want to splurge on, offset those with salads, and lower calorie options.
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Watch your beverage choices- sugar sweetened beverages and alcohol can add a significant amount of calories and added sugar to your meal
- 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.
- 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.
- Make healthy substitutions to recipes
- Fruit puree in place of oil in cakes, brownies, bread, or muffins. Ex. Applesauce
- Egg whites (1 egg= 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute)
- Fat free vanilla yogurt in place of whipped cream
- Low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
- 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!
- Stay hydrated with H2O to avoid food cravings
- Avoid high calorie snacking:
- 5 one inch cubes of cheese with crackers= 500 calories
- 2 handfuls (1/2 cup) of mixed nuts= 450 calories, 40 g fat
- 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