By Kristi Winkels, RDN, LD
The holiday season is a time of social gatherings and traditions . . . often centered on food. Many people gain weight and have trouble losing those extra pounds after the season.
A new Cornell University study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that Americans gain on average 0.2% of their body weight during Thanksgiving, and another 0.4% at Christmas . . . and it takes about five months to lose those holiday pounds. Here are a few strategies to stay on track this holiday season:
Be consistent with meals throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals to “save” calories for a holiday party later in the day. Consistent intake throughout the day will help you avoid overeating at the party.
Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Choose calorie-free or low-calorie drinks such as sparkling water, diet soda, light beer or wine spritzer instead of higher-calorie punch, eggnog and cocktails. Include a glass of water between higher-calorie beverages.
Plan time for exercise, even if for a short amount of time. Exercise not only helps manage weight but also can help manage holiday stress. The more you move, the better!
If you’re hosting a holiday party, try to have healthy options such as fruits, vegetables and lean proteins as part of your menu. As a guest, offer to bring a healthy dish.
Be mindful. Pay attention to your hunger before you decide to take an extra helping to avoid feeling “stuffed.” Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite holiday treats but take a small portion, eat slowly and savor it!