December is the time of year when many people travel and tend to indulge in unhealthy eating especially during family and festive meals. Unfortunately, for many it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight gain.
According to the US National Institutes of Health, festive meals during December can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, this weight gain can really add up. The travel and family time spend enjoying festive meals don’t have to mean weight gain. Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy and maintain your weight.
Ten Tips for Healthy Eating
- Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the festive times with family, instead try to maintain your current weight.
- Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased festive eating while traveling and spending time with family indulging in delicious foods. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day.
- Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party or family gathering, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
- Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
- Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
- Be careful with beverages. Some beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
- If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound (or 0.454 kg). It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie!
- Take the focus off food. Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food.
- Bring your own healthy dish to a family gathering.
- Practice Healthy Festive Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy eating.
While you don’t want to restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite foods, consider incorporating healthy recipes into your festive meals. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you!
We hope you enjoy your travels and make the most of family time over the holidays.