10 Tricks to Avoid Gaining Weight this Holiday Season
Are you already anticipating the impact of lavish holiday meals on your figure? Don’t panic! Here are 10 tips to help you celebrate without feeling guilty.
1. Adopt a balanced diet right now
By paying more attention to what you eat today, you will find it easier and more natural to handle the large meals of the holiday season.
2. Don’t skip meals
If you’re big on the "I won’t eat lunch today because there will be a buffet tonight" approach, stop! This is a mistake! If you have an empty stomach, you will have cravings. You will be tempted to eat more appetizers before the meal and you will also be hungrier at mealtime. The result: you will eat more food during the day than if you had had lunch.
3. Have a snack
Eating a snack an hour or two before a meal is an excellent trick. You will be less attracted to high-calorie appetizers and you will eat smaller portions during the meal since you won’t be starving.
A healthy snack can consist of Greek yogurt and a fruit, raw vegetables with some nuts, a piece of cheese and whole wheat crackers or a homemade muffin with a glass of milk.
4. Pay attention to liquid calories
Liquid calories include juice, alcohol and soft drinks. Not only do they quickly increase your calorie intake, but they won’t supress your appetite. Add unsweetened mineral water such as Perrier or San Pellegrino to your evening. For a festive touch, add some berries, lime or a bit of fruit juice to add some taste and make it look like a drink without the extra calories.
Drink your alcoholic drink slowly and alternate with water: a glass of wine, two glasses of water, etc. At the end of the meal, choose tea, coffee or herbal tea instead of a digestif.
5. Snack consciously
Several appetizers are high in calories (mini-quiches, snail bundles, filled buns, peanuts, puff pastries, deep fried foods, etc.). Have a taste, but don’t overdo it as a large meal awaits. Choose raw vegetables with a little dip, or finger foods containing vegetables and fruits.
It’s been proven that the availability of food makes us eat more. And it's even worse when we are in a crowd because we are paying attention to the discussion rather than the act of eating. The simplest solution is to continue the discussion away from the appetizer table after a few bites.
6. Take control over your plate
No need to deprive yourself of Grandma’s meat pie or Aunt Lynn’s pork hock stew. Enjoy a bit of everything, but in small portions. Above all, know how to decide the quantity of food you want on your plate. And dedicate a lot of room to vegetables: they will fill you up without adding too many calories.
7. Take your time
“Eat slowly, eat lightly.” The feeling of satiety occurs about 20 minutes after starting a meal and when you are aware of it, you will eat less. As long as you know how to recognize and respect its signals. You're full? Then it’s time to stop eating and keep enjoying the evening!
8. Be smart when indulging your sweet tooth
Allow yourself to taste the traditional Yule log cake. It comes only once a year! Take a small portion and savour it bite by bite.
9. Take advantage of the down time
Between ultra-rich holiday meals, take the opportunity to eat light.
10. Get moving!
Dance at family celebrations, skate, go sliding with the kids, ski, walk or go hunt deals on Boxing Day! In addition to spending the extra calories, you will enjoy precious moments of relaxation... except maybe on Boxing Day...
Above all, don’t sabotage your holiday season by feeling guilty about your diet. Stay vigilant without obsessing. Family, good wishes, winter sports, reunions and office parties ‒ make sure to stay focused on what matters most: spending beautiful moments with those around you.
Stéphanie Ménard, Dt.P
Dietitian / Nutritionist