Do you throw caution to the wind each holiday season and then make resolutions to diet those extra pounds away come Jan. 1? Change your attitude this year and break the cycle so you can ease into the new year!
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It's the same story for a lot of people every year — they
work their butts off to look great for the holidays, then they throw all of
their progress away by indulging in every craving throughout the season. The best way to approach this time of year is
to arm yourself with a plan. Lucky for all of you, I already put one together!
Use these tips to healthfully navigate the holidays.
Tip #1: Plan How You'll Approach Holiday Events
Naughty Habit: Go hungry,
stand by the buffet, and sample
everything — the catered hors d'oeuvres, too!
Nice Habit: This year, I
want you to slow your roll when it comes to holiday parties. First rule of
thumb: Never go hungry. Always have a snack filled with protein before
attending any holiday party. It will help you stay full and stay away from those
high-calorie appetizers and desserts. Stand far from the buffet so you're not
tempted to grab a plate and load it up. Instead, fill up a dessert size plate with veggies and munch on those to curb
Tip #2: Remember Mini Can Be Major
Naughty Habit: Not counting the
Nice Habit: The latest trend
over the past few years is to serve cute, small bites at parties. As adorable as
they are, these tiny tastes can pack a
hefty, caloric punch. A lot of people will graze on these mini dishes and not
keep track of how many they're eating — big mistake. If you continue on this
route for the entire holiday season, you'll definitely notice a change in your
waist line. Stick to the rules I outlined in tip #1, and if you can't resist these
mini-bites, only have one or two, maximum! Just because they're small, doesn't
mean you can lose track of counting them.
Tip #3: The Extras Count Too
Naughty Habit: Add
condiments like whipped cream, ice cream, or more to holiday dishes
Nice Habit: Condiments count
too! It feels festive to add whipped cream or ice cream to your coffee or
dessert, doesn't it? Same goes for a dollop of ranch dip for your veggies, a
remoulade sauce on top of a crab cake, hollandaise sauce on your veggies, or
gravy to your meat, but the truth is those extra sauces for sides and
condiments to meats can send your calorie count soaring. Make smarter choices
this year — if it's thick and creamy, it doesn't belong on your plate. Instead
use some spices to add a kick of flavor!
Tip #4: Cook Healthier Dishes
Naughty Habit: Giving into
your family's wishes and making everything they ask for — whether it's healthy
Nice Habit: If your kids or
significant other want a cheese or carb-laden casserole, they can make it
themselves! There is no rule that you have to bake dozens of cookies, cakes,
pies and then some. The dishes don't make the holidays great, it's the family,
friends and fun. Turn over a new life this year and healthify all of your
holiday foods. Here are a few examples: Steam green beans and sauté with a bit
of extra virgin olive oil and almonds, make baked potatoes or sweet potatoes
instead of serving mashed potatoes loaded with butter, and serve white meat
without the skin. Those are just a few ideas to get your mind turning! If you
think about it, there is a way to healthify nearly every dish – it just takes a
bit more thought and planning.
Tip #5: Avoid Alcohol
Naughty Habit: Sample every
"holiday" drink at parties this season
Nice Habit: I get it — at
most holiday parties the booze is free, so why not indulge a little? Well, I'll
tell you why: Once you have a drink, your body eats up all of the glycogen in
your liver, makes you hungry and reduces your inhibitions, so you're more
likely to start eating those bad-for-you appetizers or doing something you may
later regret. Don't forget — alcoholic drinks contain calories too! A 20-ounce
serving of beer can pack 250 calories, a 6-ounce glass of wine contains 120,
and a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor contains about 100. If you
must have a drink, choose wine which may protect the heart
and help lower inflammation. One drink probably maxes out the benefits though,
so I'd stop there.
Tip #6: Don't Be Afraid to Say No
Naughty Habit: Say "Yes" to
every invitation and wear yourself out
before New Year's Eve
Nice Habit: Pick and choose
which holiday events you'll attend — you don't have to go to every single one!
The less temptation the better, so only go to the events you're most excited
about. Rushing from place to place or being exhausted can trigger emotional
eating. Put your health first and only hit a few special events throughout the
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