1. Enjoy! The holidays are a great time to gather with family and friends and eat incredible foods. Don’t miss out!
2. Balance. Most people do eat more calories during the holiday stretch. Think about ways to increase your activity to balance out the excess calories. Walk more during your workday. Extend your walk or run by 5-10 minutes. Take the train or bus and get off a stop earlier.Take the stairs during your workday. Small increases in activity can make a big difference.
3. Think Mediterranean. Go for savory vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, whole grains, yogurt and olive oil whenever possible and use spices to help enhance flavor rather than an extra pat of butter or salt.
4. Focus on colorful vegetables. Most holiday meals are rich in vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, spinach, turnips and Brussels sprouts. These foods are an excellent way to include a good dose of protective antioxidants. Make your vegetable portions bigger than you normally do at holiday time. Fill your plate with color.
5. Drink sensibly. For those including alcohol, be sure to include a glass of water between drinks to avoid overdoing alcohol calories (and a horrible hangover).
6. Keep the ‘heavy hitters’ small in portion. Some foods are packed with calories (and taste). Keep the portions of such foods small. Cheese, bread, nuts, olives, dried fruit, appetizers, rolls, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, alcohol and desserts.
7. Try healthier versions of a few of your favorite foods. Use olive oil instead of butter. Try fresh and dried spices instead of relying on salt and cheese.
8. Eat! Don’t skip eating the day of a holiday. Skipping meals to ‘save your calories’ will backfire and you’ll eat at least twice as much when you come to meal time. Eat as you normally would during the day (or slightly less) to avoid feeling overly hungry.
9. Exercise. You’ll feel better. Plain and simple. Get out and move. Sign up to walk or run a holiday road race.
10. Same as number 1. Enjoy. Be mindful of your eating but don’t obsess or worry about it. Food is one of the best gifts. Savor it.