By Rita R. Robison
If you’re like me, you’ve put on a few too many pounds recently and you’re worried about additional weight you could gain during the holiday season.
What can you do to keep from gaining weight? Here are some tips from the University of Illinois Extension’s DeWitt-Piatt-Macon Extension Unit to help get you through the maze of wonderful holiday food:
1. Be realistic about the holidays and don't try to lose weight. Instead, concentrate on having a good time with family and friends.
2. Eat before you eat. Try not to wait until time for that special meal to eat. Skipping breakfast and lunch can cause you to overeat. Have a bowl of cereal, a piece of fruit, some vegetable sticks, or handful of nuts before arriving for the meal.
3. Bring your own healthy dish. The host may appreciate it, and it can provide at least one healthy item for you to eat.
4. Use pasteurized eggs for recipes that require raw egg with no additional cooking such as eggnog.
5. Avoid excessive snacking. Save your calories for the big meal.
6. Be aware of beverages. Alcoholic beverages, soda pop, punches, and other sweet drinks provide a lot of calories and almost no nutritional value. In addition, alcohol can lessen inhibitions that may result in overeating.
7. Eat slowly and savor your food. Take time to enjoy your meal. It usually takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. Eating slowly may prevent overeating.
8. Eat lightly during the next meal if you’ve overeaten. It takes about 500 calories per day above your normal calorie intake to gain one pound during one week.
9. Make dishes you’re preparing "healthier" by reducing the salt, fat, and sugar content.
10. Keep food safety in mind when preparing turkey, stuffing, and food items if you’re hosting the meal.
11. Find time to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days, including the holidays. Physical activity can help offset some of the calories from holiday eating.
Good luck with your healthy eating holiday plan. We all need it because there are so many wonderful temptations during the holidays.