The holidays are a lonely time for a nutritionist. My clients who typically bounce through the door, excited to see me suddenly have problems with “cell phone reception” and inexplicably “lost” e-mails. It really is the strangest thing. Then, January 2nd rolls around and in they sulk, 5 – 10 pounds heavier, with a look of frustration and disappointment. Holidays: 1, Client: 0.
Had they not had those “terrible cell phone problems,” I could have informed them of some simple ways to enjoy the holidays without ringing in the New Year bloated and defeated!
First, let’s look at the five pounds that people often gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This breaks down to an extra 17,500 calories in one month! Unless you are doing something extraordinary, there is no way that these pounds are gained solely on the big days of eating. Instead, the calories squeak in through little bites that you may not even enjoy and barely remember.
Think about your co-worker’s cookies at the office holiday party. They weren’t even that good, but you still had three because they were there. Or that box of peanut brittle from your Secret Santa. Or that dip at your neighbor’s party.
So how do you stop an unconscious habit like this? Just reading this post increases your awareness and is a step in the right direction. Here are a few tips to help you make decisions during the holiday season:
1. Step Away From the Food Table – Your physical location (e.g. bellied up to the buffet table) is the biggest culprit when it comes to mindless eating. Prepare a small plate of your favorite foods and then head to the other side of the room. This is true for the bar as well. Plus, at office parties, it may not only help save your waistline, but your job too!
2. Eat Before You Go – Always make sure to eat a little something before you head out to holiday parties. If you’re starving when you get there, you are more likely to overeat. I always keep healthy snacks like nuts divided into single serve bags so I have something quick to grab when I’m on the go.
3. Bring Something Healthy to Share – The holidays are a time for sharing and spending time with loved ones. What better way to take care of those around you than to bring a healthy dish to share? Think of party favorites like dips, spreads and even party beverages. One easy way to give these treats a boost is to add naturally calorie-free green tea. You may want to try Salada’s Green Tea Martini, Boston Iced Tea with cranberry juice, Green Tea Fruit Twist Smoothie, or even traditional or classic lemon iced tea.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Seconds – Make your first plate at holiday dinners a small one. You can always go back for more if you are still hungry.
5. Enjoy Yourself – The holidays are a time to spend with loved ones and eat wonderful food. When you are eating something that you really love, make sure to savor it. Chew slowly, taste all of the flavors, and truly enjoy the act of eating. Good friends and good food are great reasons to be thankful this holiday season.
And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes.
Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.