Before your calendar fills up with celebrations this season, take a look at these five tips from Active.com to prevent the holiday bulge.
1. Eat four to six smaller meals rather than “saving” yourself for that special holiday meal. Smaller, more frequent meals enhance metabolic activity (meaning you burn more calories during the day), and make you less likely to binge on those holiday treats.
2. Take advantage of nutritionally dense holiday foods. Fortunately, many holiday food staples can supply our bodies with a multitude of health-enhancing nutrients. So during this holiday season, be sure to include these health enhancing foods:
Pumpkin: An excellent source of beta-carotene, which is converted to resistance-building vitamin A. Pumpkin is also a wonderful source of iron.
Cranberries: The plant’s pigment that provides color to our holiday plate also provides a number of compounds that have shown early promise against cancer and heart disease.
Turkey: Provides significant sources of B-vitamins, selenium and zinc; nutrients essential for optimal nerve and immune function.
Sweet Potatoes: Provide more than a quarter of our daily needs for vitamins C and E–nutrients that have been shown to help protect cell damage.
Chestnuts: Provide a hefty dose of fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid–nutrients important for immune function, formation of collagen and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.
3. Offer to bring a healthy dish to holiday parties. For appetizers, you could bring a vegetable platter with low-fat dip; a colorful fruit platter with a dip made from nonfat yogurt blended with a dab of fat-free cool whip garnished with roasted chestnuts or whole wheat pita triangles served with hummus.
4. Try recipe modification. Many people worry about a cooking disaster when preparing a large meal during the holidays and therefore don’t want to experiment with new ingredients. But often times these new ingredients enhance both the nutritional value and the flavor of the dish. To avoid a potential cooking disaster, you can always practice the modified recipe before the big day.
5. Don’t hang out at the appetizer table when socializing at a party. Those small handfuls of munchies add up to a lot of calories.