Nutrition Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Avoiding holiday weight gain can be challenging. We’re not talking about one day of indulgent eating, but weeks of social gatherings, entertaining, office parties, home made treats, and stress! All of which can knock you off your regular eating, exercising, and sleeping routines. Here are a few ways to keep the holiday festivities from creeping onto your waistline!

1. Eat regular meals before heading out to a social gathering – arriving at a party when your famished, will likely lead you to overeat all of the tempting and indulgent appetizers and sweets.

2. Be a food snob – check out the buffet and dessert table for your favourites – indulge and enjoy a modest portion of your faves – instead of trying everything.

3. Eat and enjoy your favourite foods that you can only get over the holidays and skimp on other tasty foods you can have any time of the year.  If turkey stuffing is one of your favourites that you only have at Christmas, then savour every bite and take a pass on the creamy mashed potatoes and the dinner rolls that you can have anytime of the year.

4. When your host insists that you have seconds, politely thank them, tell them you’re full and need to take a breather. They’ll probably forget to ask you again!

5. Clean off your kitchen counter and tabletops of all the sweet and salty treats. Although a plate full of cookies or a jar of holiday candies may look festive, they are all too tempting when they are left in plain site. After you’ve enjoyed your special occasion treat, pack it up and put it away. Decorate your counter and tabletops with non-food items or with healthy options like fruits and nuts-in-the-shell (these take more work to eat than shelled nuts).

6. Meeting up with friends for a holiday coffee? Watch out for coffee house specialty drinks: a Starbucks Grande Eggnog Latte made with nonfat (skim) milk (and no whip cream) will cost you 450 calories. Add a slice of their Holiday Gingerbread Loaf for 400 calories and you’ve eaten the equivalent calories of a McDonalds Big Mac with a side of medium fries.

7. Go easy on the alcohol. Not only do alcohol calories add up quickly – 150 calories for a 5 ounce glass of wine, a regular beer, or a standard mixed drink – having one to two extra drinks during the holiday season can easily add 2,000 to 4,000 calories – which is about the calories required to add a pound to the scale. Alternate between alcoholic drinks and plain or sparkling water.  You’ll save yourself calories and the dreaded day-after hangover that needs a greasy food fix.

 Keep in mind that it’s not what you do between Christmas and New Year’s that makes a lasting impact on your health and weight, but what you do between New Year’s and Christmas that really counts!

Wishing you the best in health,

Maria Fisher, B.Sc., RD
Registered Dietitian

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