By: By, Lisa Graham, RN, BSN, CDE,
Northside Hospital Diabetes Education Program
Between the cookies, eggnog and pie, the holidays can be the most difficult time of the year to stick to a healthy diet.
The good news is that we tend to overestimate how much weight we’ll likely gain during the holidays. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most people gain less than one pound during the holiday season. The bad news is that even though this may not seem like a lot, these pesky pounds really add up over the years, leading to obesity and other life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Preventing weight gain is much easier than trying to diet afterward.
Here are a few tips to control your sweet tooth and your waistline around the holidays.
- Bring a healthy entrée or appetizer. It will ensure that you have a healthy and delicious option when you are a party guest and you may even encourage others to practice healthy eating habits too.
- Never skip meals during the day. Saving up for that special evening buffet by not eating usually results in overeating. A small snack, such as a handful of nuts, before the festive dinner will help you not to overeat.
- Focus on people rather than food. Remember, family and friends are the reason for the season!
- Choose one small dessert and enjoy it—that’s part of enjoying food!
- Sit down to eat. Emphasize conversation and socializing instead of the food. We don’t realize how much we have eaten when we pick at food while standing.
- Don’t drink your calories. Eggnog, punch and mixed drinks contribute a large amount of calories – often 500 calories per cup. Stick with water, diet sodas, light beer and wine spritzers instead. In addition, drink lots of water – at least eight cups a day to stay hydrated.
- Stay active during the holidays. Get the kids outside playing ball, plan an ice-skating trip or take a walk after the holiday meal.
- Plan ahead. If you are choosing a dessert, cut back on other sources of carbohydrates such as breads, casseroles, and sweet potatoes.
New Start, Weight Smart (Robyn this class is only offered at this time in Atlanta. It is not offered at any of our other locations)
Northside Hospital offers a weight loss program to help you reach your nutrition and weight loss goals. The comprehensive program combines nutrition, behavior and fitness assessments with motivational education sessions designed to help you achieve maximum success. For more information call (404) 851-6023.
To access additional information and resources on diabetes and nutrition, visit www.northside.com/healthcast/nutrition.