Surviving Holiday Eating

To help you survive the seasonal parties without packing on the pounds, Qualicare has some tips to help you survive the holidays without having to make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

  1. Trim back the trimmings. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream -- additions that don't add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline. Trim calories wherever you can so you leave the party feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
  2. Exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, on most if not all days. Three 10-minute brisk walks throughout the day can have positive health benefits and help you feel more energetic. Walk to do your errands, to visit friends and to do your shopping, whenever possible. A walk or exercise in the evening can also help curb your appetite.
  3. Wear snug clothes and keep one hand busy. When you wear snug-fitting attire, chances are you'll be too busy holding in your stomach to overeat. While you stand around looking posh in your holiday finery, hold a drink in your dominant hand so it won't be so easy to grab food.
  4. Chew gum. If you routinely reach for a stick of gum instead of something more caloric like a doughnut or candy bar.
  5. Be a food snob. Just because you are at the buffet, doesn’t mean you have to sample everything at the buffet. Indulge on your favourite holiday delights that you don’t get to have all year.
  6. Eat breakfast every day. When you eat breakfast, you won’t feel the urge to grab a high fat, mid-morning snack, such as a doughnut, croissant or fast food muffin
  7. Avoid skipping meals. Not eating throughout the day can lead to overeating later in the day. Instead, have several small nutritious snacks or meals during the day. Try low-fat yogurt, fruit or fruit salad, vegetable sticks, leafy green salads, whole grain bread or bagels, low-fat muffins, bean burritos, hummus and pita bread, chili, tortilla wraps, rice dishes with beans or vegetables, soup, whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, a handful of nuts and dried fruit, a hard-boiled egg, milk, fruit and vegetable juice.
  8. Watch out for party foods. It is easy to eat more than you really need! Pates, sausages rolls, cheese, snack crackers, egg and spring rolls, bacon wrapped scallops, and deep-fried chicken or fish pieces are typically high in calories and fat. Opt for the vegetables and fruit. Watch out too for the high fat dips! Choose dips that are made with yogurt or low fat salad dressing or mayonnaise.
  9. Add fun and games. Think horseshoes, badminton, sledding, ice skating, or building snowmen. Indoors, try a spirited game of charades, or rent an instructional dance video followed by a dance-off.
  10. Alternate alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories -- especially holiday favorites like eggnog. Water is the perfect choice to keep your hydrated and is calorie free.
  11. Skip the appetizers. If you need a little nibble before the meal, go for the veggies, fruit, salsa, or a small handful of nuts.
  12. Load up with colour. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit. This is a great way to balance out calorie-rich foods. Choose fresh cut veggies, leafy green salads, and fruit. Hosting a meal? Start off with a steaming bowl of squash soup.

Healthy ideas for eating out

Restaurants

  • Go for smaller portions when eating out at restaurants.
  • Don’t be afraid to doggy bag.

Buffets and cocktail parties

  • Eat regular meals and snacks before going to a party, so you won't arrive starving.
  • Scope out your options and make one trip to the buffet. Instead of eating a bit of everything, choose the foods you really want, and keep the portions small.
  • Don’t forget about colour on your plate!
  • Focus on socializing. Steer the conversation away from the food table so you're less likely to nibble mindlessly.
  • Set a limit. Cocktail parties with finger foods can make it hard to keep track of what you're eating. Pick a maximum number of appetizers and skip the rest.

Big holiday meal

  • Offer to bring a dish. Take a vegetable or fruit platter, bean dip with whole grain pita wedges, or tomato and black bean salsa with baked tortilla chips.
  • Start with small portions and eat slowly. Your brain needs 20 minutes to realize you're full. Take a break before reaching for seconds.
  • Get moving. Go for a walk after your meal, build a snowman, or lace up for a fun skate.