The holiday season is fast approaching and, with it, the threat of packing on extra pounds. Think of all those parties and all that terrific, calorific food! So how can you celebrate the holidays, enjoy yourself at those parties and manage weight gain? These savvy tips and strategies will help you stay merry well into the New Year.
Stick to a schedule.
It’s tempting to fast during the day when you’re planning to party at night, but eat your square meals and snack on fruits, lean protein, and whole grains the day of the festivities. Fibers and proteins will keep you feeling full and help you stave off the impulse to binge at the party. Avocados offer 11% of your daily fiber needs, so they’re a great choice for keeping you feeling fuller for a longer period of time.
Control portions and stop before seconds.
Portion control is very important, as is moderation. Help yourself to portions roughly the size of your fist. Stop and think if you really need that second helping.
Try to use smaller plates, like salad plates, and divide yours in two halves. Fill up one half with vegetables or salad, or both. Divide the other half in two and fill up one-quarter with carbs like rice or potatoes, and reserve the other quarter for animal proteins, like turkey or beef, or vegetable proteins like garbanzo beans or quinoa. This balanced plate will help you feel sated.
If you’re still tempted to go back for seconds, give yourself a 15-minute rule. Yes, that pie was delicious, but wait 15 minutes after finishing the first piece to see if you still feel you really need a second piece.
Be the hostess with the mostess…
If you’re the one hosting the holiday party, plan your menu with health-optimizing dishes in mind. Avocados aren’t just a beautiful green that add color to the table — they can also add unsaturated “good” fat to the holiday menu. And if you find you’ve run out of butter or mayonnaise, guess what? Avocado makes a handy substitute! Simply swap butter with avocado in baked goods, like these avocado chocolate cupcakes or this avocado coconut pound cake. On the savory front, swap mayonnaise for avocados in salad dressings. Check out these videos on how to save half an avocado if the recipe calls only a part of the fruit by squeezing lime on it and covering with plastic wrap, and learn how to pick avocados for the week when you shop in advance by looking at the color and squeezing it gently to see if it yields to a little pressure. The darker green and softer an avocado is the closer it is to being ready to eat. The lighter green and harder an avocado is the more time it needs to ripen.
… and the guest with a great gift.
Need to come up with a hostess gift? You can never go wrong by bringing your own favorite healthy side dish or dessert. You can still indulge in other foods in moderation, but you know you have a delicious, nutritious dish that you can fall back on.
Work it off tomorrow.
Stay active! And it doesn’t take much time or effort to burn off the calories gained the day before. You can go for power walks, or do 15-minute high-impact workouts. Plan fun outdoor activities with your family for after the party, like taking part in a 5K fun run in your area or a game of flag football. Or go for a hike in the woods. Exercise burns calories, reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, and improves sleep. Physical activity will also help you survive the holidays!
With these tips and tricks, you will not only enjoy the holiday season, but also keep those calories at bay.