With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us, one thing that most of us try to avoid is holiday weight gain. Weight can impact your health in many ways, including the health of your bones and joints. When a person is even slightly overweight, it can add stress to their joints, especially their weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. For example, every pound of weight gained puts an extra 3-5 pounds of pressure on knee joints.
So how do you make it through holiday gatherings filled with sweets and indulgences without packing on extra pounds? Follow these tips for eating healthy during the holidays.
During the holiday season:
- Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night – sleep is an important component to stress and weight management.
- Pack some healthy snacks before heading out holiday shopping. While shopping can be a good way to get in some physical activity, it is easy to lose track of time and start to feel hungry. Having your own snacks ready will help you avoid tempting unhealthy snacks and over eating post-shopping.
- Make time for exercise! Physical activity is both a calorie-burner and stress-reducer.
- Stay well hydrated – proper hydration can help you feel more energized, improve focus, increase satiety, and keep you from feeling extra dry in winter weather.
On the day of a Holiday Party:
- Have a light, balanced breakfast and lunch before the party and try to complete 30 minutes of physical activity.
- Wear an outfit you feel confident in and that fits you well – the way your clothes are fit at the party may help you realize when you are full.
- Bring a low calorie dish to share – this way you know you have a go-to snack that may keep you from too many brie-filled croissant rolls.
- At the beginning of the party, socialize away from the appetizer table, or use those small appetizer plates to fill with raw fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid candy dishes – when the food is right in front of you, you are more likely to reach for it – keep extra treats out of sight and out of mind.
- Be careful of caloric beverages – especially those that can inhibit self-control and lead to more over eating. Instead, keep a glass of water in your hand and stay well hydrated.
- Select healthy options first, and then scope out your favorites. Fill half of your plate with salad, fruits and vegetables – then add appropriate portion sizes of your favorite holiday foods to your plate.
- Practice portion control – this is the best way to feel satisfied without over-indulging. All foods can fit on your plate, as long as they are in appropriate portions!
- Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
- If you have the option, sit with a healthy eating buddy and avoid food peer pressure.
- Bring a box of mints – pop one in your mouth if you are eyeing an extra cookie.
- Take a walk after dinner – this can aid in digestion, boost post-turkey energy, burn calories, and keep you away from the food table.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the holiday season!