The holiday season is officially here. Home cooks are planning their Thanksgiving dinners, scheduling holiday parties and getting ready to bake cookies like fiends. I've already given you some ideas on how you can work to mitigate some of the weight gain associated with feasting on Thanksgiving. But what about the rest of the year? Here are eight more tips to help ensure your weight stays relatively stable throughout the holidays.
1. If you are cooking a large batch of baked goods, have a plan for what you will do with them. Baking two dozen cookies because that's what the recipe called for is fine, but if it’s just you and your spouse and you just leave them sitting on the counter, odds are they aren’t going to last very long. Set aside a few for yourself, and either label the rest to be put out for a party or holiday or bring them into your office to share with your colleagues.
2. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before every meal. This is a tip I tell anyone trying to lose weight. If you have a literal pound of water sitting in your belly before you begin a meal, odds are you will eat less.
3. Have a full cup of water in between each alcoholic beverage. Not only will this slow down your drinking and limit those calories, it will keep you properly hydrated and make you feel much better the next morning if you are planning on knocking back more than a few. I try to stick to this anytime I’m drinking, and it works pretty well.
4. Veggies-proteins-carbs-fats. That's the order you should aim to fill up your plate, and it's also the order in which you should eat the food on it. If you go for the salad and turkey or ham first, you might simply run out of room to pile on too many cheesy mashed potatoes. You’ll also fill up more quickly eating food in this order as you’ll be going from high volume, low calorie foods to low volume, higher calorie foods.
5. Have a plan in mind about when you’ll be having big meals. I think its safe to say that most people generally know what they'll be doing at least several weeks in advance for the holidays. If you know you have Thanksgiving, three holiday parties, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day plans where there will be a surplus of food, early November might not be the best time to try that brand new Italian restaurant down the street.
6. If you’ve been curious to try a new kind of diet, whether it be Keto, Whole30, intermittent fasting, etc., these next few weeks might actually be a good time for a couple reasons. For one, you’re going to assume it's only going to last a few weeks if you’re planning to feast a bit for the holidays. If you know it will only be several weeks (for now), you might end up sticking to it better than if it was open ended. If you liked how your body felt while trying a new diet, then it would make sense to start your new year off trying it out for a longer period of time, or even making it a lifestyle. Assuming you followed the diet properly and stayed in a calorie deficit, you will have lost couple pounds, and even if you decide to pig out over the holidays and gain that weight back, you’ll come out of it where your started, and not several pounds heavier. I would not suggest this idea to someone who will use the three weeks of dieting as an excuse to eat even more at the end of the year.
7. Eat all your meals at the table. Instead of wandering around picking at snacks before dinner and bringing an extra slice of pie or two to the couch to watch football, just let yourself eat whatever you want so long as your sitting with everyone at the table. This will obviously help limit how much you consume on a given day. Think of this as an extremely minimal form of intermittent fasting for the day!
8. If you plan on drinking more than a couple of adult beverages, it would be wise to do it after you have dinner so that you don’t get the munchies and overindulge on the food. If you combine this tip with the previous one, you’ll be set on not continuing to keep munching as the night progresses.
It is possible to indulge in your favorite holiday foods without the accompanying guilt. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Amy Klassman will teach you how to navigate the change of seasons with several approachable and realistic techniques that will keep you satisfied but allow you to stay the healthy course in Healthy Harvest on Saturday, November 16 at 12pm at Lincoln Square.
In this class, you'll learn how to make:
- Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Apples, and Pomegranates with Maple-Walnut Dressing
- Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
- Mustard and Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Apples and Onions
- Individual Cheesecakes with Orange-Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
These dishes are simple enough to repeat on weeknights throughout the season, or special enough to bring to a traditional gathering.