Pack in Holiday Fun, Not the Extra Pounds

Sponsored by: Roper St. Francis Healthcare

Every year we're faced with the challenge of the holiday and winter season: the dreaded extra pounds we are liable to pack on with an extra cookie here and an extra holiday drink there. If you are trying not to gain weight through the holidays or just trying to maintain a healthy balance, consider these tips.

Fruits, Vegetables, Protein and Fiber

Be sneaky with small ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake while still enjoying your favorite dishes. Think riced cauliflower mixed in with mashed potatoes--the cauliflower will add some additional vitamins and cut back on the total calories of the dish. Or add canned pumpkin to your morning pancakes to pack an additional nutrition punch.

Serve desserts that incorporate a fruit, vegetable, or protein as a main ingredient. This will help you to get more fiber and other nutrients while still indulging your sweet tooth. Fiber helps you stay fuller longer and thus eating less in the long run.

Stay Hydrated with Calorie-Free Beverages

BEWARE of the egg nog and other high calorie seasonal and alcoholic drinks. Egg nog is loaded in calories and saturated fat thanks to the whole milk and heavy cream. Just one cup of egg nog can add almost 300 calories to your day. If making your own eggnog, consider using non-fat milk to cut back on the calories and fat. You can add extra flavor with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Eat a Healthy Snack Before Going Out

Fill up on something light, but not sweet, before heading out to those holiday parties and get-togethers, which will make you less likely to overeat. If you are the guest, offer to bring a fruit or veggie platter or baked chips with a bean/ salsa type dip to ensure healthier alternatives.

Watch Your Servings

Try to follow the plate method to guide your decisions and keep your calorie count and portions in check. Half the plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate filled with a lean meat or protein and ¼ of the plate a starch. If you are at a buffet or party smorgasbord, look at all the available choices prior to making your decisions. Before you go back for seconds, stop and listen to your body to make sure you really are still hungry. Try not to eat until you feel overly full and uncomfortable.

Savor Every Bite

Chew your food well, slow down and enjoy conversation with friends and family--which is what the season is really all about. Slowing down will allow you to pick up on your body's hunger or satiation cues before over doing it.