Vanderbilt dietitian offers guidelines to not gaining weight during the holidaysNov. 25, 2015, 8:41 AM
Vanderbilt University Medical Center dietitian and certified personal trainer Jessica Bennett is asked frequently this time of year: How can I enjoy holiday parties and meals with family and not gain weight?
“It’s a good idea to eat in a healthy way all year-round, but for a lot of people it’s especially challenging during the holidays,” Bennett said.
“Fortunately, with a little planning and thought, it’s possible to have a good time, eat well, and still maintain a steady weight through the holidays.”
Here are Bennett’s 10 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain:
- Don’t skip meals before a party or family dinner—the “saving to splurge” strategy doesn’t usually work in the end.
- Avoid going to a party hungry—have a snack, such as an apple or a handful of nuts.
- At a party or buffet, assess all the food options first and take small servings of food that you really want. Don’t just load up on whatever’s there.
- Taste foods before adding salt—most foods already have plenty of salt.
- Choose a smaller plate if you have a choice.
- Avoid eating standing up—it’s a lot harder to keep track of how much you’ve eaten while on your feet and moving around.
- Make it a point to eat slowly—even put your fork down between bites.
- Watch out for high-calorie beverages. A good way to do this is to have water or sparkling water between drinks and to dilute juices with water.
- Don’t think you have to eat all the leftovers yourself; share them with family and friends.
- The day of a party or family meal, make it a priority to do something active.