By Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain
The holiday season is upon us, and for many it’s filled with holiday parties, baked goods, and more which can cause healthy habits to veer off. From cookie exchanges to dinner parties, it’s easier said than done to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holidays.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American gains one to three pounds during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, with most Americans keeping the weight on in the following year.
Fortunately, there are easy tips and tricks to enjoy the holiday season that will help you and your family maintain a healthy lifestyle without overindulging.
As holiday parties often have endless dishes and desserts, finding ways to make healthy choices is key to managing weight. Before you and your family head to a party, consider eating healthy foods beforehand so you don’t arrive hungry. This can prevent overindulging in unhealthy foods.
As the holiday season wouldn’t be the same without indulging in a few of your favorite dishes, we recommend using an appetizer-sized plate as this can help control portion sizes. This encourages you to be mindful of dishes you choose without restricting the foods you love during the holidays.
As many parties serve unhealthy options, another great way to maintain a healthy diet is to bring your own dish to share with others. Bringing your own recipe gives you control over what you eat while giving others a healthier option as well!
As the holiday season is a great time to spend with family and friends, finding healthier ways to enjoy each other’s company is great! For many, the holidays are a time to relax and lounge around which can contribute to weight gain. Finding different ways to stay active with your family and friends is a great way to manage weight during the holidays. Even taking the time to go for a walk after dinner can give your body the exercise it needs while offering a fun and different way to spend time with each other.
As many would agree, the holiday season wouldn’t be the same without a variety of baked-goods. From pumpkin pie to sugar cookies, it can be easy to overindulge in these sugar-filled sweets. Switching out a few ingredients can create a healthier version. For instance, if a recipe calls for butter, replace one-half of the butter with fruit puree such as banana or pumpkin puree. Puree gives it an extra flavor while reducing the overall calories. Sugar is the main sweetener in a variety of desserts and can be replaced by vanilla extract. There are many other healthy alternatives that will help you and your family enjoy the holiday season in a healthier way.
Making the effort to find creative ways to sneak in healthier habits during the holiday season can make all the difference. I hope these tips guide you and your family toward a healthy and enjoyable holiday season!
Dr. Sarah E. Laibstain is a general family medicine practitioner at Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton. She thoroughly enjoys improving the health and lives of individuals ranging from young children to adulthood. For more information, call 972-394-8844, or visit texasmedicine.com.