5 Quick Tips to KEEP Healthy While Enjoying the Holiday Season
Get movin’! - The days may not be as long, but that’s no reason to shorten your workouts. There are great reasons to get outdoors and to enjoy the moderate temperatures that autumn brings. Plan a family outing to go apple or pumpkin picking and walk through the fields instead of riding the tractor. Another way to incorporate exercise into your routine is to make your chores work for you -- did you know that by raking the leaves in the lawn for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, a 170 lb. man will burn over 125 calories? The longer the amount of time spent raking or participating in another outdoor exercise-based activity, the more calories you will burn.
Add some veggies to a favorite recipe – There are many ways to increase the number of vegetables in your diet and on your plate! Some easy suggestions include eating a large salad before a meal, snacking on raw veggies when you’re hungry, or substituting vegetables for some of the meat ingredients in family favorite recipes. For example, halve the amount of meat you would normally use in a lasagna or chili recipe and add mushrooms, whole tomatoes (canned or fresh), chopped green bell peppers, onions, or even butternut squash which is a seasonal winter squash variety. You’ll reduce the amount of fat in the recipe and the end result will be a hearty, as well as heart-healthy, dish. You can also scale back on the amount of cheese or use low-fat dairy to make the recipe even better for you! Offer to bring a vegetable based dish to your next family meal, and everyone at the table will benefit.
Watch your waistline with portion control – With family style and buffet meals, it can be easy to indulge in “seconds” and even “thirds” of your holiday favorite treats. Consider using a smaller plate. This way you still feel like your plate is full, but in reality you will have less room to fill it up. Also, try to first load your plate with vegetables, leaving less room for sweets and other more unhealthy choices. Pay attention to your body’s natural cues of fullness. Waiting 30 minutes before getting seconds gives your body time to digest and to signal to your brain whether you’re still hungry. If after you wait, you have determined that you still want seconds, you will have allowed time for your body to release the hormones related to appetite that indicate satiety, or “fullness”. As such, you’ll feel fuller quicker and will be less likely to eat as much overall.
Eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking a glass of juice – Eating a whole piece of fruit instead of drinking a glass of sugary fruit juice is a great way to feel more full and to also cut back naturally on the amount of sugar you are consuming. This is because most juices have added sweeteners and sugars. Also, many of the juices on the market only contain a small percentage of real fruit so you’re better off eating the real thing which is typically lower in calories and higher in nutrient content. Juicing fruit decreases the fiber content which makes you feel full. In fall, apples are abundant and a great healthy snack choice! Try to swap out a fresh apple for a glass of apple juice next time you’re in the mood for something sweet.
Plan ahead for holiday parties – If you arrive famished, you’re bound to make a beeline for the buffet. Instead, eat healthy snacks and meals during the day and drink lots of water. When you arrive at the party, you’ll be less likely to overeat and will still be able to enjoy some holiday treats because you will have made healthy food choices earlier in the day. Remember, everything in moderation! Keep portion control in mind and beware of the sugar content in the punch, fried appetizers and other high caloric beverages such as eggnog.