Turkey, potatoes, gravy, pies, cookies, buffets, sweet treats, parties, dinners and get-togethers ... It seems like from October 31 through to December 31 we enter into the season of eating each year.
Everywhere we go, tempting treats bombard our senses with tantalizing aromas and flavors, and we justify our indulgences and breaking our holiday diet plans because it only happens once a year.
It’s not just your imagination, we eat about 200 calories more per day in the fall, which translates to about three to four pounds a year, according to John de Castro, a professor psychology at the University of Texas in El Paso.
It's speculated that we do this because our ancestors did. They ate to put on weight in preparation for the long winter months.
They also had the tendency to eat when food was plentiful (at harvest) because there was never a guarantee that there would be more food. This leads to an increase in eating carbohydrates, particularly sweets and those foods high in starch, which make up the vast majority of our holiday eating.
Many fall foods, however, are healthier than the food we eat during other times of the year. Foods such as squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pumpkins are packed with nutrients, fiber, protein, beta carotene and vitamin C, which makes them diet-friendly.
Tips for Preparing Fall/Winter Meals
If you want to be the hostess with the mostess, and want to keep your guests healthy and happy while being winter-diet and waistline-friendly follow the suggestions from Dr. Charles Stuart Platkin, the Diet Detective:
• Make soups without cream or cheese.
• Make stews with loads of fresh vegetables and less meat and potatoes.
• Have a basket or bowl of fresh apples available instead of pie alone and let your guests take advantage of the low calories.
• Choose a turkey that is lean and can provide a good amount of white meat -- it’s healthier.
Winter Diet Tips
If you’re the one doing the eating this coming holiday season, follow the holiday eating tips below to keep your tummy and scale happy:
• Eat normally on the day of a big meal so you don’t overindulge.
• Carry a water bottle with you or drink water throughout your visit. “Mild dehydration mimics the sensation of hunger, and drinking water prior to a meal starts to fill you up before you take your first bit of food so you’ll eat less.” (Joy Bauer, Women’s Day)
• Have a plan of what treats you really like and expect to find, and allow yourself to have a taste of these favorites. This will avoid overindulging and wasting your waistline on foods you don’t really care for, but just want to eat because “it’s the holidays”. “... [D]on’t waste your calories on anything less than your favorite high calorie food. Savor it, enjoy it, feel satisfied, and then you can go back to your sensible eating plan.” (Dr. Jennifer Ashton, CBS News)
• Limit your intake of alcohol and holiday drinks. Sodas, beer, wine and creamy cocktails can cost you between 150 and 400 calories. (Dr. Jennifer Ashton, CBS News) It's better to consume those calories with food.
• Resist the carbohydrates. Choose lean proteins (eggs, white chicken or turkey meat, fish) instead. Protein keeps you feeling full and satisfied longer by balancing your blood sugar.
• Choose a smaller plate. This is an automatic and simple method of portion control.
Follow these winter diet and hosting tips and you’ll be sure to survive the holiday eating binge without overindulging. Your waistline will thank you!
“The Diet Detective: Fall Into Healthy Heating Habits” by Charles Stuart Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H. Active.com. Web. Nov 24, 2011. http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/The_Diet_Detective__Fall_into_healthy_eating_habits.htm
“Joy Bauer’s Guide to Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain” by Joy Bauer, RD. Women’s Day. Web. Nov 24, 2011.
“How to Fast-Track Your Holiday Diet” by Dr. Jennifer Ashton. CBS News. Web. Nov 24, 2011. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/29/earlyshow/health/main7099289.shtml
“10 Holiday No-Splurge Tip” by Gloria McVeigh. Prevention. Web. Nov 24, 2011. http://www.prevention.com/health/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/holiday-diet-tips/article/ce577e643f803110VgnVCM10000013281eac____
Edited by Malu Banuelos
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