Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Nutrition: Maintain Don’t Gain!

Did you know the average person gains 2-7 pounds throughout the holidays?!  From Halloween candy to Thanksgiving pies to Christmas baking to New Year’s cocktails…it is easy to add a few pounds.  So let’s check out how you can avoid common nutrition holiday pitfalls this season!

Eating on the Run
The holidays bring lots of errands, lots of shopping, and thus lots of eating on-the-go.  From drive thrus to mall food courts it is easy to grab a bite and get back to the shopping.  So here are some ways to eat fast and eat healthy.
  • Order a grilled chicken sandwich, wrap or salad & get the sauce on the side
  • Sub a salad, fruit cup, yogurt parfait or carton of milk for french fries
  • Skip the soda, milkshake, and sweet tea and go with water
Parties & Family Gatherings
The holidays also bring lots of parties and gatherings of family and friends.  The challenge is that all of these events usually revolve around food and cocktails and it is easy to over-eat bite-size foods.  So in order to control your cravings at the party, prepare throughout the day…
  • Do NOT skip meals all day…Eat small meals/snacks all day so that you are not starving upon arriving
  • Eat a small healthy snack with carbohydrate AND protein  right before the party…small energy bar, whole grain crackers & a string cheese, handful of nuts and berries, etc.
  • Use the “small” plate at the party and don’t stand post by the food table…get your food and leave the area
Office Goodies
Many people bring “goodies” to work around the holidays which makes it harder to “be good” nutritionally.  So be the healthy person in your office…bring the fruit or veggie tray and nibble on that.  Here are some other office-eating tips…
  • Eat a good breakfast of carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy fat so you are not hungry when you get to work and can avoid the doughnut/pastry table
  • Bring your lunch and snacks so that you are not grazing through the office kitchen all day looking for food
  • Pick one day that you will “treat” yourself on office goodies and be satisfied with that one day
Wine, martinis and champagne…oh how the calories can add up!  Alcohol is full of empty calories meaning it has a good amount of calories with no nutrients.  The real problem, however, is that alcohol does not make you full like food does so you keep drinking those extra calories.  So make your first goal to drink water when you get to the party.  Then have a drink or two throughout the evening and alternate water in between.
  • 4-5 oz wine or champagne = 100-120 calories
  • 12 oz light beer = 110 calories (avoid the regular that has over 150 calories per serving)
  • Avoid things like margaritas and fruity drinks as they can have anywhere from 250-600 calories per drink
Amy Goodson is a registered dietitian for the Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine program.  

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