The holidays are here already!  For all intensive purposes, this should be the busiest season for dietitians, however, the sad truth is the most people will forego our sage advice until the post-holiday season.   The reality is that recent clinical studies have shown that the average weight gain is only about 1 to 2 pounds over the holiday season (from Thanksgiving thru New Years Day).  The problem comes in when those couple of extra pounds never come off and continue to accumulate over the years.   Holiday weight gain has been implicated as a culprit in midlife weight gain (for both men and women) over time. 

What can you do about it?  Of course, you don’t want to be a scrooge and bann holiday parties all together.  In a recent presentation to a group at in Chicago, I targeted mindful eating approaches to combat overeating during the holidays. 

First of all, become a “Mindful Party Goer” by:

– Keeping a safe distance from the food table

– Use smaller plates and put food on it and walk away

– Try a little of your favorites and don’t deny yourself or you will overeat later.

– Savor the food – taste and enjoy flavors, scents and textures

– Make food less of a priority – have a snack before you leave the house so that your can spend time socializing and not eating the whole time.

Secondly, become a “Mindful Party Thrower” by:

– make healthier/lower calorie foods available, such as vegetable crudite, vegetarian appetizers, bean dips, hummus stuffed cherry tomatoes, cumin guacamole with whole grain pita chips, avocado salsa, etc….

– concoct non-alcoholic mocktails (alcohol contains 7 calories per gram – which can add up fast), such as sparking fruit punch, apple cider martinis and fruit smoothie shots.  The are tasty and a fraction of the calories of their spiked cousins. 

– Circulate and enjoy your guests’ company instead of hanging back in the kitchen and sneaking bites here and there (the calories can add up fast!)

Lastly, whether going or throwing holiday fetes, get your regular workouts.  You may even need to compensate for excessive calories with more exercise than usual.  Be willing to put the time in during the season and you will feel better when the New Year emerges.

If you’d like, fill me in on your favorite holiday recipe(s), I’d be happy to offer a healthy makeover option — so that you can enjoy your faves without all of the fat and calories…..  

All the best this season –