Holiday Hacks: How to Avoid Packing on Pounds
Hailey Schminke, RD, LD, Bariatrics/Weight Control & Diabetes Center, ACMC-Willmar Skylark Center
Turkey, mashed potatoes and pie, oh my! The holidays are a great time for making memories but the focus on food this time of year can be difficult. This is especially true for people who struggle with weight control and diabetes. But it is important to remember that holiday traditions don't have to derail your eating habits. Here are a few helpful tips for keeping your diet on track this season.
What are we eating? When are we eating? How much food is too much? Don't let these looming questions put a damper on your holiday celebrations. Make sure to address any challenges you may have before you sit down for your meal. If you are on insulin or pills to control your blood sugar, plan a light snack at your regular meal time to prevent negative reactions. Assess what will be served at your meal and choose one or two carbohydrate rich foods for your plate or take small samples of each dish. If you plan on eating dessert, be sure to cut out one high carbohydrate item from your regular meal.
Bring your own dish! If you are concerned with the foods traditionally served at your holiday meal, volunteer to bring your favorite dish to share. That way you can be confident there will be one thing on the table you can eat without repercussions. As a bonus, you can pass your healthy recipe along to your family and friends! Mixed steamed vegetables or a festive salad can be a great addition to any meal. Also, avoid bringing home carbohydrate rich leftovers that will result in having the same carb-loaded thanksgiving meal over and over again! Enjoy the meal with friends and family, but say no to leftovers, or if you are the host try to pass on the leftovers to your guests!
It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the holidays. When it comes to meal time be sure to eat slowly and take time for conversation. This will help you feel fuller faster and resist the impulse to grab for seconds.
Change Your Focus
Although it is always hard to avoid the dessert table, change your focus to the people in the room instead of the food. Use your time to catch up with loved ones to help avoid the urge to snack. Suggest moving to a room without food or heading outdoors to keep the temptation out of sight.
Unfortunately, overeating is bound to happen over the holidays. Instead of falling into a food coma, stay active! Volunteering to help clean-up or suggesting a game is a great way to start burning off those additional calories.
The holidays are a time of family, friends and of course food. Don't let the stress of diet restrictions hinder your celebration. Use these tips to stay happy and healthy this holiday season!