Nutrition Advice for the Holidays

On average between November and January, Americans will gain 9lbs

Nutrition Advice for the Holidays

by David Segal
CPFT., ACE., AFAA., PFIT

Will you be one of the average Americans who, between this month and January, will gain 9lbs? Statistics show that in this festive period whether its Thanksgiving, Hanukah, or Christmas thousands of people will eat too much of the wrong foods and drink too much. Belts will be loosened and waistlines will grow.

However, by following some of these guidelines you can still eat and be merry and keep off unwanted pounds and enjoy the celebrations.

It takes a lot of willpower to resist the tempting treats and stay lean and mean. Remember, it takes 3500 calories to add one pound.

Try these ideas:

1. Set limits to the quantities of food you like but should not eat. One piece of pumpkin pie for example – not several (275 calories, 15 grams of fat). Mince pie (one piece – 365 cals, 16 gr/fat. Keep the turkey ration to 4 ozs (a serving the size of the palm of your hand); the potatoes to ½ a cup, the cranberry sauce to two tablespoons. Go light on the gravy – usually made with turkey fat. Pass on all breads along with butter or margarine.

2. These holidays are a once-a –year occurrence. If you eat more than you should try going for an energetic walk. You’ll burn 5 calories a minute or jog at about a 10-minute mile pace and burn 9 cals/min.

3. Save calories by avoiding small trays of peanuts, cheese and crackers, cookies and M & M’s. Hang out by the veggies tray.

The fiber, vitamins and minerals will be good for you. If you must snack on cheese and crackers just don’t fill up on them.

4. Don’t starve yourself all day so you can justify eating a big meal later. Eat your regular breakfast and snack on yogurt, fresh fruit or a small salad with chicken or tuna. If you feel really courageous try ¾ cup of small curd or ricotta cheese flavored with half a teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of slivered (sliced) almonds.

5. If you are giving a party and are stumped for low cal/low fat snack foods go the web to cookinglight.com for lots of ideas.

6. Don’t make New Year resolutions to lose weight. Just eat and party sensibly.

7. Alcohol can ruin all your eating habits and goals. One 6 oz glass of wine can have anywhere from 200 to 750 calories. Regular beer ranges from 130 to 200+ calories. If you must drink – line up a designated driver before you become incoherent.

8. Your body does not recognize vacations and special holidays. Therefore it should not be neglected. Commit to dedicate part of your day to some form of exercise even if it’s only a 20 minute walk. Try to exercise in the mornings so you can ‘get it out of the way’ before you get caught up in other things.

9. Don’t let poor weather stop you from exercising. A ‘quickie’ workout at home can include a series of 20 sit ups, 20 push ups, 20 lunges, 20 squats and 20 leg lifts. If you follow these guidelines you can enjoy every moment of the holidays and, who knows, you may even lose weight. Happy holidays!