Watch your waistline over Season Holidays

Posted On December 1, 2006

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Whether you’ve been naughty or nice when it comes to your meal choices, the holidays don’t mean you have to give up entirely this Festive Season. 

While Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are just three days out of 365, a little “naughtiness” caloriewise doesn’t doom you to those extra pounds. But unabashedly enjoying the season’s treats from now until those resolutions kick in could wreak havoc on your health habits. In honor of the 12 days of Christmas, here are 12 ways to watch your waistline while still enjoying the Holiday Season.

1. Take the focus off food. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food.

2. Be realistic. Just because you enjoy your co-worker’s special holiday goodies doesn’t mean your weight control efforts are over. Decide which treat is worth the calories, take a smaller portion, and savor every single bite.

3. Savor a simple supper. Think ahead to make mealtime less stressful. On a cold, wintry night, few things say comfort like a bowl of hot soup, paired with crusty, whole-grain bread. Start a pot simmering on the stove or in the slow cooker while you spend the day decorating the tree, addressing cards or doing any other holiday preparations. Add a piece of fruit and a cup of milk, and you have a well-balanced meal.

4. Be a little fruity. Experiment with seasonal produce to lighten up your meals.

5. Plan for parties. Don’t starve yourself the day of the party so you can fill up on food that evening. If you eat normally throughout the day, you’re much less likely to overeat at the party.

6. Lighten up. Use nonstick cookware. Cut down on saturated fat in creamy dressings by mixing in some nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream.

7. Change your view on workouts. Winter doesn’t mean the end of activity, nor does it mean you’re stuck simply squeezing in a workout at a gym or an exercise video. Instead, make exercise time play time, enjoy an afternoon of football, sledding, ice skating or playing in the snow. Or even enjoy the neighbor’s Christmas lights while taking a long evening walk.

8. Discover different dips. Try using silken tofu in place of some or all the cream cheese in dip recipes. Experiment with fat-free dips made with nonfat cream cheese or sour cream, or blend your own bean dip. Pair with vegetable spears or baked pita chips.

9. Watch your appetizers. Choose appetizers that will help you meet the daily recommended guidelines of five or more servings of vegetables and fruits and 25 to 35 grams of fiber, such as Romaine spears, Belgium endive, cut-up vegetables, fruit kabobs, and roasted red pepper or garbanzo dip.

10. Enjoy the mall. While working on your holiday shopping, use the opportunity to squeeze in some exercise in a warm, dry environment.

11. Be a happy host. Balance your famous cookies with simple to prepare, healthier options. Send care packages home with your guests.

12. Have a healthy holiday spirit. Good alternatives for celebrations include sparkling or hot cider, light eggnog or seltzer mixed with fruit juices.