Diet-friendly Strategies For The Holiday Season and Beyond
- Have a plan. Think things through before you get to the actual holiday meals and parties. Maybe your strategy is to take tiny portions of different dishes; that’s okay. If you’re cooking, you might want to have your bottle of water with you in the kitchen, so you’re less tempted to snack. Do what you can to stay away from the appetizer table. Plan to avoid anything that’s not homemade. The point is that if you go in with a plan, you’ll be less likely to get caught off-guard.
- Stay on track. Holidays are not the time to skip meals in an attempt to “bank” calories. That’s a strategy that can backfire miserably. Instead, eat everything on your meal plan leading up to the holiday event, and make sure you’re drinking all your water. You’ll be less likely to overindulge at the big event.
- Set a goal. There’s something about holidays that makes people forget what they do the rest of the year. Do you already have weight loss goals set up for November, December and January? If not you can start today. Once you’ve set a short-term goal, decide on a way to reward yourself once the goal has been reached.
- Drink smart. Face it, overindulging during holiday events—whether it’s an office party, a family gathering or a neighborhood open house—can add a lot of extra calories to your day. In addition, when you’ve had too much to drink, it tends to weaken your previous resolve and derail any strategies and plans you might have had. Besides, you don’t want to end up as that karaoke-singing family member or neighbor everyone will be talking about for the next month.
- Trim the calories. This tip is especially useful if you happen to be the primary cook for an event. In baked items, replace the fat with an equal amount of applesauce and the sugar with a sugar substitute; substitute a quarter cup of egg substitute for every egg called for in the recipe; replace whole milk with 1% milk and sour cream with yogurt; reduce the amount of nuts called for by half. And don’t forget both veggies and salad.
- Enlist support. Trying to maintain your Nutrisystem program can be hard at the holidays, but there’s no reason you have to go it alone. Ask for your family’s understanding or even their help, so nobody’s trying to foist “seconds” on you. Nutrisystem counselors can help you strategize, based on your individual circumstances. Or you can go to the Nutrisystem Discussion Boards, where you’ll find people who definitely understand what you’re trying to do. Discuss your concerns; share tips of your own, or join one of the many weight loss challenges. Some of them are specifically geared to the holidays. Introduce yourself well before the event, so you have that support already in place.
- Keep moving. Instead of just sitting around after dinner, suggest a family walk, or organize a touch football game. Most people will be grateful for the chance to move around, and it can keep you on-track with your exercise plan.
- Embrace the spirit. This last tip may just be the most important: You can get so caught up in all the planning and hoopla that you lose the whole meaning of the holiday season—coming together with friends and loved ones. It’s the time that’s really valuable, not the food and drink.
Remember: Quality not Quantity
If you do plan to indulge in some of the traditional Thanksgiving favorites, use these portions as a guideline:
Turkey —3 oz. white meat, no skin (about the size of a deck of cards)
Mashed potatoes—1/3 cup (about the size of half of a baseball)
Gravy—1 Tbsp. (just drizzle it)
Relish made with sugar—1 Tbsp.
Dinner Roll—if not homemade, skip it
Pie—1/12 of a 9” pie
I was not compensated for this post. I am part of the Nutrisystem blogging program.