Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dietitian offers top 10 tips to avoid holiday weight gain

From fudge to frosted cookies, it seems even the most disciplined weight watchers can struggle with temptation during the holiday season. Lisa Frazier, clinical dietitian at Cox Medical Center Branson, is sharing her top 10 tips to help you avoid packing on any extra pounds this season.

“The key is planning ahead and then sticking with that plan,” Frazier said. “If you are going to a party, plan ahead and have a healthy snack beforehand so you are not tempted to overindulge. If your week nights are jam-packed with activities, plan ahead and have a quick, healthy meal ready to put together at home. With a little forethought, you can make it through the holidays without putting on an extra pound.”

Plan ahead: Think about your schedule. If you have evenings when you will be short on time, plan ahead and have all of the ingredients on hand for a quick, healthy meal.

Maintain: Do not put undue pressure on yourself by trying to lose weight. Make a goal of maintaining and not gaining this holiday season.

Make time for exercise: This time of year, schedules are busy, it gets dark early and it is often cold out. While an evening walk might not be ideal, look for creative ways to work exercise into each day such as walking on your lunch break or make a lap around the mall before you start shopping.

Don’t get too hungry: Getting too hungry can set you up for bad decisions. Curb those hunger pangs by keeping healthy snacks on hand. Fruit, nuts, fresh vegetables or cheese sticks are great for taking the edge of off hunger.

Follow the 15 minute rule: While you may be hungry when you sit down for a meal, don’t assume you will need a second helping to feel satisfied. Start by eating a small plate of food slowly and take time to enjoy what you are eating. Wait 15 minutes before going back for more and only go back for that second helping if you are still hungry.

Limit your alcohol: A glass of wine can have the same number of calories as four cookies and a pint of lager often has the same number of calories as a slice of pizza.

Take the focus of off food: From cookie exchanges to candy-making parties, often our holiday gatherings revolve around food. Instead of putting the focus on food, consider making a craft together or spending that time volunteering instead.

Heading to a potluck? Take a healthy dish: We tend to take our most indulgent, delicious dishes to share with our family and friends. Don’t forget that healthy dishes can also be delicious and you might just start a healthy trend.

Don’t just jump in line: If you find yourself at a buffet line, take some time to see what your options are before jumping in line. Plan what you want to eat and only put those items on your plate.

Use the buddy system: Don’t be tempted to overeat by large, restaurant-sized portions. Split an entrĂ©e or dessert with a friend. This saves calories and money.

For great, healthy recipes, visit CoxHealth.com.