The holidays only come around once a year, so you may think splurging on some of your favorite foods is no big deal.
However, the holiday season can bring unwanted pounds and a lot of guilt. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians notes.
Dr. Terry Wagner, DO, a family physician practicing in Stow, Ohio, offers his top 10 tips to stay healthy this holiday season.
1. Try to manage the pre-meal nibbling. It is easy to snack on foods while waiting on the main meal, and most host and hostesses will have appetizers sitting out for guests, however it is these areas that we can conserve calories for the big meal. Choose veggies and skip the fattening dip. Go for smarter choices before the meal and you will feel less guilty splurging on your holiday feast.
2. Make sure you have a balanced dinner plate. Go heavier on the fruits and vegetables and white meats, and lighter on the starches and desserts.
3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day -- it’s good for you and will make you feel fuller. Avoid sugary, high calorie sodas and calorie-rich coffee drinks and alcohol. These calories add up at the end of the day.
4. Moderation, moderation, moderation. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love. The holidays come but once a year, so enjoy the pumpkin pie and eggnog, but limit the portion size. And, don’t waste calories on foods that you can have anytime of the year. Choose smaller portions of your holiday favorites and skip the routine choices.
5. Make sure to add exercise to your day. Go for a walk with relatives; get your workout in the morning before the day starts or after your guests leave. Exercising will help you burn those excess calories you are about to consume.
6. Have a small breakfast in the morning and a light lunch before the feast so you’ll feel less hungry at dinner time and less likely to consume higher calorie items later in the day.
7. Avoid seconds. It’s easy to fall prey to the second helping when it tastes so good but it’s important to remember that those second servings are additional calories that will need to be burned off later.
8. Keep stress to a minimum. We all know that holiday gatherings bring with them a certain amount of anxiety, but finding ways to diffuse that can be healthy to you in the long run, and allow you to enjoy your day more. If you are hosting, don’t be afraid to ask guests to bring a dish or to help in the kitchen. Not only is this helping you by taking off your stress load, but it also provides others a way of feeling needed and helpful.
9. Be aware of food safety. Don’t risk ruining a wonderful get-together by bypassing on basic safety issues. Make sure to keep the warm dishes warm, placing them in an insulated container if you are taking a dish to someone else’s home. If it is a cold dish you are bringing, make sure to keep it well chilled. Chill a cooler with ice for 30 minutes before packing your dish to ensure it remains cool.
10. Relax, the holidays are a great time to enjoy your family and reflect. Don’t let small family squabbles and a burnt pie ruin your day. Enjoy the day and try your best not to sweat the small stuff.