MAURY REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER OFFERS TIPS FOR HEALTHY HOLIDAY EATING
COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Delicious foods seem to be around every corner during the holiday season, but the tasty offerings can make it difficult to stay on track with healthy eating habits. According to the American Dietetic Association, Americans gain an average of one to two pounds during the holidays. Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) offers some suggestions for maintaining a healthy diet and keeping off extra pounds while enjoying holiday cheer.
“Excess weight gain during the holidays often comes from eating too many foods that are high in fat and sugar,” said Cindy Dugger, chief dietitian at MRMC. “By keeping an eye on the type and amount of food we eat during holiday gatherings, we are able to make a healthy impact on our diets for months to come.”
Dugger offers a few simple tips to help you maintain a healthy diet during the holidays:
• Look for healthy substitutes for ingredients in your holiday dishes. Use low-fat or skim milk products instead of whole milk products, or try swapping applesauce for oil in your baked goods.
• Avoid grazing while cooking. Taking a bite here and there while working in the kitchen can add up and stack on extra calories.
• Do not skip meals. Missing meals, especially breakfast, can lead to overeating for the remainder of the day.
• Snack before you arrive at a party. You are more likely to overeat if you are hungry when you arrive at a holiday gathering.
• Prepare a healthy dish. Bringing a tossed salad, vegetable plate or fruit dish to a holiday party will ensure that there is a healthy option for you and your friends.
• Use a smaller plate. This allows you to put less food on the plate and to keep portion sizes within healthy limits.
• Eat slowly. Savor each bite as you eat and wait several minutes before considering a second helping.
• Alternate drinking alcoholic beverages with water. Not only will you reduce the number of calories that you consume, you’ll also have a safer night.
• Mingle. Don’t stand near the food table all night where you may be tempted to go back for more.
• Get physical. After eating, consider taking a walk with friends or family members or join young people in a game or other activity.