Halloween has passed and the official start to the 2016 Holiday Season has begun! November through December tend to be the most notoriously unhealthy times of the year- some sources say that the average American can gain five pounds throughout this season. This five pounds of weight gain might come on easy, and once January 2nd hits, most are concerned about losing gained weight.
So what is the issue with the holiday season? Goodies abound! During the late fall and winter months, socialization is taken indoors. A cozy feeling is created with smells of sweets and treats baking in the oven. Festive gatherings are typically accompanied by snacks and beverages, most of the less-than-low-cal type. These buffet-style set-ups also make it challenging to keep track of what and how much you are eating. Because the weather outside is frightful, less outdoor activity is done. Sometimes, the overwhelming amount of parties and events decrease amount of time for exercise.
Merry and bright you can be, if you are prepared! Just because these are typical holiday scenarios doesn’t mean you must fall prey. If you think in advance, you can ensure a healthy holiday season and avoid a five-pound price tag. Just follow some of these great tips from Dietetic Intern Jenny Wood:
Social gatherings are meant to be social! Enjoy the company of friends and family as the top priority. Engage in good conversation instead of crowding the spinach artichoke dip.
Prioritize your plate! Follow the USDA MyPlate guidelines and make half your plate fruits and vegetables. These items give you much needed vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. Sample sparingly on high fat, salt, and sugar treats.
Bring a healthy treat. Store-bought vegetable platters are so dreary. Get creative with festive fall and winter produce and a homemade dip. You’ll make sure you get your fill of healthy vegetables, and it will be a beautiful addition to any buffet.
In the same vein, liven up the blasé fruit salad option and create your own beautiful fruit kabobs. Or make a fruit-based dessert to bring to any shindig. This will ensure you have a safe option.
Be mindful when you eat. If one crab cake satisfies you, stop there. Think about what options you would really like to try and enjoy a small portion. You’ll really feel so much better by nights’ end. Further, as treats show up in offices be selective about what you take. Think about what you really want before munching.
Drinks count! Don’t get all of your calories from boring beverages like pop and juice. Stick with water to take in the flavors of the season. Try a fancy sparkling water with just a splash of cranberry and lime wedge to make it Christmas-themed.
If you are planning a party, try a theme other than food. Go caroling or play Twister; have a snowball fight or try charades. Weather and ground-cover permitting, you can also try to work the soil for a community gardening day!
Hopefully these tips are helpful throughout the holiday season. Remember to stay active and eat your fruits and vegetables! When January 1st rolls around, you’ll be ahead of the game!