As the last pieces of Halloween candy are being polished off, turkey and pumpkin pie are waiting around the corner. But just because the holidays have arrived, it doesn’t mean weight gain has to come too.
Antonio Cain, a registered and licensed dietitian at , says the key is to remain conscious about the amounts and types of foods you choose throughout the holidays.
“Many people simply just don’t think. So much food is presented at once and often times we overeat,” Cain said.
It’s difficult to pass on many of the holiday foods, especially since they are filled with tradition. So Cain suggests before a holiday meal, eat some fruits or veggies and drink water to prevent overeating.
During the meal choose lean cuts of meat, avoid fried foods and serve yourself on smaller plates or use smaller serving utensils. He says it’s important to listen to your body and aim to feel satisfied, not stuffed.
“It may be helpful to plan your holiday meal in advance or ask what may be on the menu at friends and families if you are going to be guests,” adds Cain. “This allows you to think about what you have to choose from and you can pre-select the menu items that you would like to eat ahead of time.”
If you are in charge of planning a holiday meal or party, try to have a menu that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy.
Cain also reminds us not to forget fitness throughout the season. During holiday gatherings include the entire family in exercise. For example, if everyone is sitting around watching football, get up during half-time and go for a walk.
Or better yet, throw the football around outside. While the turkey is cooking, turn on some music and encourage everyone to dance.
“Remember to keep it fun and engaging so that it will be enjoyable for the whole family,” says Cain.
He suggests if you travel and stay at a hotel, choose a place where there is an indoor pool or fitness center and plan to devote 60 minutes of your day exercising.
As the New Year approaches, if you find yourself carrying a few extra pounds Cain says don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead start the New Year out on the right foot by setting new goals, start exercising regularly and eating healthy.
He also suggests this might also be a good time to see a registered dietitian or exercise professional to assist you in your path to a healthier you.