Surviving the Holiday Season

Doesn't it seem like just yesterday we were enjoying summer peaches and spending our afternoons picnicking in the park? Then, all of the sudden, the days got shorter and we had to start pulling our sweaters out from the back of the closet and start moving our skirts out of the weekly rotation. And now, the holiday season is upon us once again. With your entire social circle, office, and family each having a holiday party of some sort, this is a season where even the most determined healthy eater and gym devotee can fall off track.

Low Fat Thanksgiving - Eating Healthy this HolidayBut what is a person to do? Swearing off all holiday parties is downright Scroogey, so you'll be glad to know that there is a happy medium. One tip that applies not only to holiday parties, but to everyday eating is to always fill half of your plate with veggies, ¼ with meat or protein and ¼ with starch. If you're having turkey, stick with the white meat and skip the skin. Since it usually seems like the side dishes are the most calorie laden at parties, another option is to bring a healthy side dish for everyone. Bringing something like Red Pepper Parmesan Orzo, Pumpkin Walnut Focaccia, or Roasted Red Potatoes will be healthy, but no one will ever know it!

Can't pass up a slice of Aunt Millie's famous pecan pie? Don't. If you deny yourself the foods you love but only get once or twice a year, you'll regret it and could end up overeating foods that mean less to you. Instead, have reasonably sized portion of the food you adore and pass on the things that don't mean as much. Another common mistake we make during the holidays is overindulging in alcohol. Not only are you taking in empty calories with the drinks themselves, but when your guard is down you're less likely to control yourself at the buffet. This year, try to only have a glass or two of wine and be glad it's Mary from the accounting department dancing on the copy machine instead of you.

Here are some healthy tips to keep in mind when planning out your holiday eating:

- Try to get a good workout in before you go to your party. If that's not possible, try to gather up your family to go for a walk after dinner.

- Fill up on fruits and veggies

- Drink plenty of water

- Listen to your body - stop eating when you're full. Don't stuff yourself!

- Eat a big salad before you go so you won't load up on unhealthy hors d'oeuvres

- Avoid dips, creamy sauces, and fat-laden gravy (most are made with the drippings of the turkey and lots of flour - a total fat trap!)

- Fat and calories are lurking in nuts, breads, butter, and alcohol.

- The typical Thanksgiving meal contains a whopping 7,100 calories. It takes 3,500 calories to make up 1 pound. Choose what you eat carefully to avoid taking in unnecessary calories. Visit this nifty site to enter in serving sizes for common Thanksgiving foods and calculate your calories. This is a great tool for planning your meal!

- For the average 150 pound woman, it takes 20 mins to burn 100 calories by briskly walking on the treadmill. Think of how long you'll need to work out to burn off that piece of cheesecake. Are you sure you still want it?

Another pitfall of the holiday season is the time crunch that often leaves you without time to hit the gym. While the best thing to do is to try to clear a small window of time into your schedule for working out, we know that isn't always possible. When you can't work out, do little things like taking the stairs, walking, or hitting the dance floor at parties.

Remember, the holiday season is supposed to be a fun time for you to enjoy the company of loved ones and reflect on the past year. As long as you don't expect to keep the exact diet you've been maintaining pre-holiday season and you eat reasonably, you'll survive without wrecking your waistline.

Have more tips? Email us and we'll post them.

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