When we think about the holiday season, a few holiday parties with the family usually come to mind. In reality, the holidays are often a non-stop free-for-all of holiday parties where we often over-indulge ourselves. As I tell my clients, we need to have a plan to deal with this madness, just as we need to have plans during the year.
I work with my clients and walk them through holiday nutrition strategies. We often look at the schedule of events and role play as if we were in attendance at one. On the day of a party, I encourage my clients to get an extra 15 minutes of aerobic exercise so they can afford a 200 calorie splurge at the party and stay at the same weight. You need to pre-plan your party dining so you don’t arrive starving or unable to resist the urge to overeat. Before you go to a party I suggest you have a good snack such as a cup of hearty soup or cottage cheese to avoid arriving famished.
Once you arrive at a party check out all the offerings, from appetizers to desserts. This can be easily done by nonchalantly cruising through the kitchen and asking the chef or hostess what is planned. At that point you can come up with a strategy to survive this feast with little damage. Plan to have a few appetizers and a small dessert. If it is a sit down dinner, pile your plate with extra veggies and request a small portion of side and main dishes. If this is not possible, simply move food around the plate, take small bites, and savor each item slowly. This should not be a time to fill up and stuff yourself.
Though we often get wrapped up in the food, holiday parties should be a time to visit and catch up with family members . Focus on “working the room” and having great conversations with each guest rather than just filling up. If there is a buffet, walk down the line one time and notice what’s offered, then decide how to tackle it. Do not just eat salads – eat foods you love but take smaller portions and, leave room for dessert. Eliminate bread and butter and mashed potatoes; save those calories for brownies or pecan pie! Make sure that you eat at least four ounces of protein such as salmon, shrimp, filet, tri-tip, etc. to avoid coming home hungry and totally sabotaging your eating plan.
If you chose to drink cocktails I suggest you alternate consuming the drink with sips of sparkling water to cut your liquid caloric intake in half. What about those wonderful homemade goodies that appear at the office?
Again, we have to have a quick plan in place. Consider this. Instead of having a sandwich with chips for lunch substitute some sliced meat with coleslaw, pickles, or a hearty bowl of soup with a side salad topped by a lite vinaigrette dressing. Afterwards you can enjoy that delicious pumpkin bread someone brought in. If you eat too many goodies at work the same restraint would ap-ply for the evening meal. I’d suggest a grilled piece of meat with an artichoke and a large serving of asparagus.
Essentially, decrease the fat and starch for the meals to make up for the dessert items. This is a sure-? re technique to keep your weight stable. Yes, you have to stay focused and remember the “whoops” that you had during the day, but you can balance it out.Lastly, how can you serve your holiday guests without going off-track? It is my job to help you come up with delectable menus that will keep you in control with the endless meals you need to prepare for guests. I suggest you have on hand a big pot of bean soup or chili. Roast some chicken and serve it with potatoes, baked apples or poached pears.
Do not overdo the desserts and keep breads like bagels and loaves of french bread to a minimum. Prepare one or two dessert dishes that will serve your guests and leave no leftovers. You do not want to be left with quantities of foods that call your name! Defnitely send home any extra goodies with your guests to remove any temptations. If the holiday season causes you to lose control I am here to help you maintain your weight or help you continue your success with weight loss. I am glad to inform you that many clients are being reimbursed by their insurance companies for the services I offer.
Linda is located in her office in Alamo. She welcomes your call to discuss your nutrition concerns. Please visit www.Linda-RD.com for more information, past articles, helpful tips, recipes, and Linda’s blog or call (925) 855-0150.