Marissa Pappadakes, Food & Wine's new Calorie Countess, has a few tips to keep slim through the rest of the year.
It's that time of year again -- family, friends, holiday parties and the dreaded weight gain. As December winds down, many people find themselves with a New Year's resolution to lose weight, especially after over-indulging throughout the holiday season. Instead of packing on extra pounds this season and working twice as hard to undue the damage, I challenge you to maintain your current weight.
Here are a few helpful tips to get you through the holiday season:
Don't starve yourself during the day in anticipation of a big holiday meal. Not eating enough during the day can lead to binging and ultimately consuming excess calories. I recommend eating a high-fiber cereal in the morning, which will likely keep you feeling full longer. Drink plenty of water, as your body can mistake hunger for thirst. Eat a small snack with carbohydrates and protein right before a holiday party to help curb hunger (for example, apple and peanut butter, cheese and crackers, or a small yogurt). Limit the amount of alcohol and high-calorie beverages. High-calorie beverages are "empty calories," which lack important nutrients and do not provide satiety. Consume flavored water or low-calorie juice drinks such as Crystal Light and Diet Snapple instead of sugary juices, soda and punches. In between alcoholic drinks, sip water to control the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumed. Portion control is essential. There is room for all foods in a diet if consumed in moderation. Use a small plate, avoid second and third helpings and fill at least half of your plate with colorful veggies. Doing so will help fill you up and control the portion sizes of other foods. Don't settle for mediocrity. In other words, don't snack just because the food is in front of you. If you try a food that tastes just "OK," don't finish it and waste calories. Instead choose foods that are holiday novelties and only come around once or twice a year. Maintain adequate physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity five days a week. As always, moderation and portion control are the keys to everyone's success.
Marissa Pappadakes is a registered dietician for Extendicare.