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Heart & Vascular Health | Heart Healthy Living | Wellness
christmas cookies

8 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

For starters, treat yourself once a day

Research studies show most adults gain some weight over the holidays. But don’t despair, because this year can be different. Here are some great ways to enjoy the holidays without the weight gain:

1. Get moving

Check with your doctor first, of course, but one of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity. To burn off those extra calories, kick up your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week and increase the intensity of your workout.  

2. Eat your veggies and fruits

Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level. When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients. What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods.

3. Control the risk for temptation

Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake. While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can. For example, do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace? Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies? Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them. If you bake-keep a small amount for you or family and give the rest away. If you get food as gift, either regift, donate or share with others. 

4. Cheat a little but only once a day

Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season. Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising.

5. Never go to a party hungry

Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt or a handful of raw nuts. When you arrive at the party, do not rush to the food table.  Rather than mindlessly rushing to the food table and filling up on snacks, assess your hunger.  Once you feel hungry, take a look at the food that is available so that you are aware of available options and will make more mindful choices.   

6. Be in charge of your party choices

Make heart-healthy choices at parties. Bring a healthy appetizer (raw veggies  or home made whole wheat pita chips with Greek yogurt or hummus dip, corn chips & guacamole, edamame) or dessert (fat free pudding based dessert, fruit crisp) so you know there will at least be one healthy choice. Use smaller plates to reduce the amount of food you eat. Avoid: sauces made from cream, half-and-half or meat drippings, high fat meats-meatballs, sausage, pigs in a blanket, fried chicken wings. And don’t drink too many calories. 

7. Say no politely

Many times you feel forced to eat foods because people keep putting it in front of you. Learn to say no politely.

8. Focus on socializing not food

Don’t stand around the food table at a party. Get out and mingle. Conversation is calorie-free! Standing is still better than sitting (burns more calories). Help clean up to burn even more calories. 

Do you like this content? Find more heart healthy recipes here.


Tags: diet, healthy diet, heart, heart and vascular institute, heart health, news, nutrition, prevention
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