The hectic holidays don’t have to send your diet off the rails. Here are some ways to keep stress in check so you can enjoy all the festivities without gaining weight:
Eat filling foods
Head off hunger by eating foods that satisfy hunger longer. To do this simply pair portions of lean protein and high fiber carbs at every meal and at snack time. Protein and fiber rich fruits, veggies and grains fill you up and have relatively few calories. They digest slowly, keeping blood sugar levels steady so you don’t have nagging cravings.
Breakfast: High-fiber cereal (choose one with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving) with a half cup of berries. Lunch: Leafy green salad with chopped veggies and grilled chicken or fish. Snack: Whole grain crackers or sliced fruit (skin on) with low-fat string cheese. Dinner: A serving of grilled fish or lean meat with a salad and double portion of steamed veggies. Beverages: Green tea, it's soothing and a metabolism booster, or water flavored with fresh citrus wedges of a non-caloric water enhancer.
Keep stress in check
Stress can be a step up for binge eating, so take steps to reduce or eliminate those things that make you anxious during the holidays. Plan your time around the people and activities that matter most and don’t feel obligated to say “yes” to every request and manage expectations – others as well as your own.
Focus on people, not food
At parties and family gatherings spend your time socializing away from the buffet table. Have a light snack beforehand so you don’t arrive hungry and then relax by sipping a glass of wine, low-cal spritzer or icy zero-cal water.
Nix comfort eating
Many of us turn to food to calm frazzled nerves, which makes comfort eating a sure set up for weight gain. Neutralize a sudden urge to eat by doing something enjoyable that doesn’t involve food. Take a walk, call a friend, or start an activity or project with your children. The idea is to interrupt an urge by redirecting your attention.
Watching your weight doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays to the fullest. At home plan meals around lighter versions of traditional recipes and when you are a guest offer to bring a healthy dish. Keep an eye on portions and enjoy tasting-size bites to foods that you know are loaded with calories. The same goes for desserts: linger over three bites of anything and your diet is safe
Have a happy, healthy holiday!
For more tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, and for delicious high fiber meal plans and recipes, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Subscribe to Tanya’s free weekly newsletter and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to her free weekly newsletter.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.