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Pound-wise Holiday Plan

Friday, December 21, 2012 - Campus News -

Cookies, Fudge, Egg Nog and more ….

The holidays are filled with delicious treats, but those holiday treats are also filled with sugar, fat and calories. So what's a person to do?

Nutritional experts at OU Medicine say having a plan is the first step to avoiding the typical five to ten pounds that most of us pack on during the holiday season alone.   

All of us know that food is an integral part of the holiday season and a few treats don't have to spell doom for your waistline if you plan for them.

"The reality is that many of us tend to put our normal eating patterns on vacation during the holidays. That can lead to overeating and weight gain," said Sheryl Morsman, registered dietitian. "So the secret is to plan ahead. This allows you to enjoy treats in moderation and celebrate the holidays with friends and family without the unwanted holiday weight gain."

For instance, Morsman said that if you think about where you will be, with whom, what foods will be available ahead of time then you can have a plan in place that allows you to fill your plate with healthier choices and just a small amount of the higher calorie, higher sugar, higher fat foods. Another great idea is to use one of the smaller plates, like a dessert plate, instead of the larger ones often available at parties and gatherings."

Here are a few other pound-wise holiday tips from the nutrition experts at OU Medicine:

• Divide and Conquer
Mentally divide your plate into four equal sections and then fill three of them with lean protein and non-starchy vegetables (such as: broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, squash, carrots). Then fill the fourth section with high calorie foods.
•  Choose Low Calorie, High Fiber Foods
These choices will fill you up and keep you full longer. 
•  Boost Will Power
It's often easy to keep eating when you are near to food. So fill your plate and then stand away from the food table at gatherings. This will help you avoid continual snacking.
•  Hydration Helps
When you drink plenty of water and low-calorie drinks, you will not feel as hungry.
•  Avoid Empty Liquid Calories
Limit alcoholic beverages. These are both filled with empty calories and also dehydrate you.
•  Don't Arrive Hungry
If an event is scheduled at about your normal mealtime, consider having a healthy snack before the event.  This can help you avoid eating more than you had planned.   Do eat sensibly all day.  Don't starve yourself before a holiday party.   Not eating all day can cause you to overeat and overindulge in high calorie, high fat foods.
•  Limit Desserts
The holidays are filled with wonderfully delicious dessert foods. Don't deprive yourself, but do limit yourself to one dessert or if you want to try a couple of different ones, then decrease the portion size of each so that together they equal just one serving.
•  Slow Down
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's easy to eat on the run and lose track of what you are eating. Slow down. Eating more slowly helps give your body time to let you know when you are full. It's a good idea to plan for healthy snacks when you are on the run.
•  Be Mindful of Portion Sizes
At holiday meals more options are usually on the table.  Choose smaller portions to keep from overfilling your plate and your tummy!
•  Bring Your Own Food
Bring your favorite healthy dish to a potluck, share good health with your friends and family.  Raw veggies and a low fat dip is easy and healthy!

For more information about ensuring a healthy holiday for the entire family, visit a special web page with helpful topics ranging from avoiding illness to keeping peace during the holidays at www.OUMedicine.com/HolidayHealth
 

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