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Weight Maintenance During the Holidays

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Eating healthy during the holidays can be a challenge. So how can you get through all of the holiday meal temptations? Focus on weight maintenance and enjoying special foods in moderation.

Health and Nutritional Impact of Holiday Meals

Traditional holiday meals tend to be high in calories and low in nutrient value. Typical foods such as gravy, dressing, buttery potatoes, creamy green beans, pies, and other desserts are calorie-dense foods. They can contain high amounts of fat and salt which can be dangerous to those suffering certain chronic health conditions. These are not “never eat” foods, but they should be limited. Choose carefully which ones you’d prefer to have and then enjoy in small portions.

4 Tips to Enjoy Holiday Meals

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these tips can help you enjoy your holiday meals guilt-free.

  • Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
  • Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.
  • If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
  • Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to manage your blood sugar, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat. Your other meals can be smaller or just a light snack but should not be skipped altogether.

It is okay to enjoy some of those foods that are special to you, your family, your culture, or maybe those foods you only get once a year. Trying to completely avoid all the foods special to you is difficult to do, adds to holiday stress, and may backfire into binge eating. So truly enjoy your favorite special items, in small amounts (zero guilt), and then be satisfied and done with that treat.

If you slip up, with larger portions or multiple heavy meals, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal or the next day.

How to Recover from OverIndulging on Food

Overindulging will not affect most people’s chronic health conditions as long as they get back to their regular healthy eating afterward. Remember to focus on:

Exercise

Exercise can help make up for overeating and can relieve some stress. 

Hydration

Drink plenty of water. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommends the following for daily fluid intake:

  • 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men
  • 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women

Get your zzz’s

Sleep loss can make it harder to manage blood sugar and appetite.

Overall, enjoy your holiday festivities with friends and family. By focusing on weight maintenance you have already overcome to biggest challenge with holiday meals. 
If you have questions or concerns about your weight or diet, contact your primary care provider.

Tagged As: Food and Fitness

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