Registered dietitian and elite age-grouper Beth Shutt shares her secrets for enjoying holiday fare without gaining weight.
When you head into a party or holiday feast, survey the food and pick out a few things that you absolutely have to have. Enjoy those foods within reason and save the rest for another time. “Really, nothing is going to be horrible for you,” Shutt says. “It’s just the amount you eat.”
Begin your meal with a big salad or some fruit. That way, you’ll start to fill up on foods with fewer calories than you would if you began with mashed potatoes and gravy.
If you’re at a party where you serve yourself, use a dessert plate instead of a dinner plate. That way, you won’t be able to load your plate with as much food and you’ll be less likely to overindulge.
Don’t go into a holiday meal starving. “You don’t want to give yourself the excuse to go hog wild,” Shutt says. If you’re eating a holiday dinner, make sure you eat a sensible breakfast and lunch beforehand.
Avoid desserts and sauces. Obviously, if you absolutely have to have a certain dessert, then eat it. But just be careful. If your family is the type that smothers every dish with sauces, enjoy the must-haves, but avoid the rest.
Most people don’t gain as much weight during the holidays as you might assume. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that out of 200 test subjects the average weight gain during the three months spanning the holidays was only one pound, Shutt notes. So while you’re doing your best to stay svelte during the winter, also remember to have fun eating the foods you only get to indulge in from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.
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Compiled by Courtney Baird.