Indulge a bit: Tips to guilt-free holiday eating

By LA SHAE WARREN

Cookies, cakes and pies — oh my! The holiday season is here and so are the yummy treats that come with it. Yes, we’re all so excited, but some of us might be a little scared. Not scared because of the sweater grandma has made for us, again (thanks, but no thanks, grandma), but because of all the goodies and unwanted pounds. Well, don’t fret. These tips will ease your guilt and help you maintain your weight while you indulge.

The Pre-Snack

Holiday parties can be filled with many unhealthy foods. To avoid devouring them all, have a little snack right before the party. Eating something nutritious and fiberous like fruit and/or vegetables can take away the urge to over-induldge.

Portion Control

The feast of delicious food is calling your name, but it doesn’t mean you have to load up your plate. “I always go into the holidays eating a little of everything, but only in moderation,” said Raphael Leazer, a junior at UW-Madison. To assist with this, try using a smaller plate if available or not piling it on high. Controlling your portions lets you enjoy without overdoing it.

The Favorites

Some dishes are only made during this time of year, deeming them the ones you look forward to the most. Try eating just your favorites and limit the ordinary. Setting your eyes on that special dessert and avoiding the unimpressive dinner roll or green beans allows you to save calories for the “good” stuff.

Linda Gleason, a Mount Mary dietetics professor, said, “Even though these special foods may be higher in calories or fat, enjoying them with friends and family over the holidays is one of the greatest pleasures of life.”

The Second Helping

With many good things around the table, it can be difficult to pass them all up. So allow yourself to enjoy what’s on your plate the first time. Savoring every bite in round one helps to avoid the second helping. No second serving equals a lower calorie intake and less guilt.

The Leftovers

Allowing yourself to indulge for one day is okay, but two or three days in a row can be a problem. Try giving away your leftovers to your guests or freeze individual meals for later on. Getting back into your normal eating routine the next day avoids a complete guilty setback.

Exercise, Exercise

The holiday seasons might put your body into relax mode, but fight the urge to slack off. Sticking to your normal workout routine will help keep off the unwanted pounds. Missing a day here and there to enjoy time with family and friends is okay, but like the leftovers, a few days in a row can cause a setback.

“Working out is very key when losing or maintaining your weight,” said Jeffrey Gholson, an independent consultant from Memphis, Tenn. who specializes in personal training. “A 30-minute workout two to three days a week can make all the difference.”

Is the 30-minute workout not for you? Try walking after dinner. “Even a short walk will help boost your metabolism instead of sitting down in front of the T.V. and letting the guilt settle in slowly,” said Abby Demler, a junior at Mount Mary.

The Substitution

For most, the “goodies” are the best part of the holidays, but as you know, sweets come with high calories and carbohydrates. Try substituting some ingredients for healthier ones. Where flour is needed (pies, cakes, etc.), try whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose white. Whole wheat flour has a better source of iron and fiber than white flour. You can also try using 25 percent less sugar then the recipe calls for.

Keeping these tips in mind will be a big help this holiday season. Your New Year’s resolution won’t have to be losing holiday weight if you take advantage of moderation. So bring on the goodies, one at a time!

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