Yes, You Can Have the Shortbread!
by Jenn Gashinski, RD
It is that time of year … you may feel doomed to pack on holiday pounds with parties as plentiful as the holiday baking. Studies show that adults gain 1-2lbs between the end of November and mid-January, and many of us keep it on, too. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Enjoy all the season has to offer armed with a few tips for heading off over-indulgence and weight gain.
Here are Five Tips to Help You Get Through the Holiday Season:
- Do not starve yourself! We have all been there; in preparation for a holiday meal or event we eat less during the day to save room for the good stuff later on. This usually backfires when we end up overindulging and, in turn, feel awful. If we had balanced meals and snacks during the day, we could enjoy the food in moderation. Eat a lunch with protein, whole grains and vegetables. An hour or two before your dinner or party, have a snack with protein and fibre (such as greek yogurt dip with vegetables or a handful of nuts).
- Keep moving. Increase your physical activity and maybe add on a little more. This is not the time to stop moving! Add an extra day at the gym, or increase the length of your workout. Instead of the usual get together surrounded by food, challenge friends or family to something new. Try renting snow shoes or cross county skis, or work up a sweat tobogganing – it’s not just for kids!
- Enjoy your holiday favourites. Yes, eat the shortbread cookies! Enjoy the foods that are special to you during the holiday time … the ones you don’t eat all year round. Eat them mindfully and savour small portions. Maybe it’s the stuffing with your turkey, or grandma’s shortbread. It is not realistic to avoid these foods during the holidays. Ask yourself how much you need to be satisfied, try to keep your portion small, and enjoy. Instead, pass on some of the everyday foods. For example, you don’t have to add bread to your plate just because it’s there.
- Drink responsibly. Alcohol calories can really add up. One cup of rum and eggnog can provide 400 calories and 10 tsp of sugar! Drinking also lowers inhibitions, making portion control go out the window. Try to alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic beverage, such as some sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice.
- Keep your counters clean. No, I am not talking about chores (although that is important for food safety!). I am talking about keeping treats out of sight. We may be proud of our holiday baking, but if it is sitting on our kitchen counter we are much more likely to mindlessly snack. Keep candies in a far cupboard and baking in the freezer until the company comes.
If you do indulge a bit too much, don’t be hard on yourself… all the months between New Year’s and Christmas are much more important than the short holiday season.