From sugary Christmas cookies to high fat and high cholesterol egg nog, the holiday season is filled with temptations. Looking for ways enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds? Here are a few of our favorite tips...
1.) Eat healthier in anticipation of your holiday meal
A few days before you know you will be eating heavily, compensate by being mindful of what you eat. Eliminate higher glycemic index foods such as sugary carbohydrates as much as possible; eat lighter and more filling foods like veggies & fruits; and, be mindful of alcohol and coffee intake, as they often mean "empty" calories.
2.) Eat breakfast and lunch before your holiday meal
Although it might be tempting to skip breakfast and lunch in anticipation of a large dinner, experts say this is the wrong thing to do when trying to keep weight off. It just leaves you prone to "binging" and overeating. Eating a normal-sized healthy and filling breakfast and lunch will keep your metabolism in action and keep you fuller for that heavy meal.
Try a 1 whole egg/3 egg white omelet with veggies for breakfast and a healthy portion of peanut butter and celery around lunchtime. And, of course, be mindful of portions during your holiday dinner! More is not merrier if you end up stuffed and achey!
3.) Continue exercising regularly
During the holiday season, regular exercise becomes increasingly important to keep the pounds off and keep your energy up! Since the holidays are so busy, it can be difficult to fit in a full workout. Try 30 minutes of stress relieving yoga to stay active and reduce stress, or do a 30 minute cardio workout from YouTube each day. My personal favorite are the Les Milles on Demand videos - for $12.99 per month you have unlimited access to high-quality professional workout videos right in your home! This reduces your commute to the gym and helps you squeeze in a quick 30 minute energy booster.
4.) Bring your own healthier alternatives
Can’t resist having a slice of pie once the family puts the dessert out? Don’t sweat it – bring your own healthier pie and have a slice with no regrets. Use sugar-free pudding and sugar-free whipped cream for a calorie conscious pudding pie! Having just one of your mother-in-law’s famous Christmas cookies is often easier said than done, so instead bring your own healthier cookie alternative! A delicious mixed fruit salad is one of my favorites.
5.) Keep leftovers wisely
Be sure to pick and choose what leftovers you decide to hang on to. Keeping too many fatty, high carb leftovers in the house will be tempting – so don’t risk it! Keep only a portion or two of stuffing and mashed potatoes, and send the rest home with a relative. Hang on to the green beans and corn (as long as it’s not cooked with copious amounts of full-fat butter). It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if it’s going to be a temptation, send it home with someone else!
Dr. Mark Turshen MD and Dr. Lauren Hedde DO are accepting new patients at their Direct Doctors family practice in North Kingstown (Wickford), Rhode Island. Direct Doctors is an innovative primary care practice emphasizing an improved doctor-patient relationship. Drs. Hedde and Turshen offer 24/7 access, no waiting, same day visits, home visits, and a doctor who knows YOU well! If you are frustrated with “fast-food”, “cookie-cutter” health care, Direct Doctors may be just the prescription for you. Check out the Direct Doctors difference at www.directdoctors.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 401-400-2699.
Lauren Hedde, DO; James Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Co- Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.