Lighten up for the holidays with this 5-step game plan

holidayeatingloresStart now and look ahead to find moderation and balance before you dive into the holiday season of feasting. Julie Bender – Sibbio, RD, LD, shares this game plan to get you started:

1. Find balance – Holiday feasts can be overwhelming and heavy, from pigs in a blanket to pecan pie. Think ahead and choose one-two splurges and make sure there is plenty of lighter fare on the table. Consider one-third of your plate as indulgent and the rest healthy and lower in fat/calories with plenty of veggies, fruit and whole grains.

2. Be a “mindful” food critic – During the holiday season, we are notorious for mindlessly “noshing” on candy, nuts and goodies that appear in the workplace, parties and even salons and stores. Calories add up, so avoid grazing and keep committed to eating regular meals. Become a food critic by consciously considering what you plan to eat the entire day. Ask if the food in front of you is worth the calories. If not, then walk away or give it away. If so, then lighten up at your next meal.

3. Shift your focus – It is tradition that drives us to celebrate with food, but it should not be the only way we celebrate. Think about focusing more on celebrating family, friends and the joys of the season with some non- eating events like walking through a festive light display, looking at old family albums/movies, or meeting a friend for a walk or fitness class.

4. Keep committed to movement – Don’t let the holidays take over your commitment to movement and exercise. Even if you can’t commit to your typical routine, make sure you plan 30-60 minutes of activity into your day. (Strolling the mall doesn’t count!)

5. Fast forward to January 1- Think NOW about January 1. Are you guilty of gaining that average 3-5 pounds that so many Americans experience over the holiday season? Or do you want to approach the New Year feeling your best by enjoying some festive foods but not overindulging for several consecutive weeks? Set a plan in place now so you can celebrate your success by the New Year!

The key is not to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, but to maintain a balance between what you eat and the physical activity needed to burn off the added calories. For instance, if you enjoy a feast on Thanksgiving, consider adding walks, runs, yoga classes or other exercise over the holiday weekend.

If you’d like more information on developing an individualized nutrition and wellness plan, please contact Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Office at 941-917-7468.


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