What comes to mind when you think of the holiday season? Spending time with family? Shopping? Playing in the snow? Eating a lot of food probably makes the list too. But that doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds. Why not focus on balancing the calories you consume with the calories you burn to avoid weight gain this year? Here are some ways to help you eat healthier and move more this holiday season.
Continue to Think “Healthy Foods” Throughout the Season.
It’s challenging to keep the pounds off during the holidays. The temptation to eat high-calorie food is everywhere. Here are some suggestions for cutting your calories.
- Enjoy your holiday comfort foods, but try a lower-calorie version.Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare meals differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, and include vegetables like fresh spinach and tomatoes. Learn more at Eat More Weigh Less, or check out healthy recipes from Million Hearts.
- Fruits and Veggies: keep it simple!Most fruits and veggies are low-calorie and will fill you up, but the way you prepare them can change that. Breading and frying, and using high-fat creams or butter with vegetables and fruit will add extra calories. Try steaming vegetables and using spices and low-fat sauces for flavor. And enjoy the natural sweetness of raw fruit. Learn more at How to Use Fruits and Veggies to Manage Your Weight.
- Eat smaller food portions.When eating out, save some of your meal and take it home to make another meal or split one meal between two people. At home, try putting only the amount you want to eat in a small bowl and don’t go back for more. People eat more when served larger portion sizes. For more ideas, visit How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight.
- Drink water.Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This tip can help with weight management. Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar-sweetened soda will save you around 200 or more calories, depending on the drink you choose. Give your water a little pizzazz by adding a wedge of lime or lemon. This may improve the taste, and you just might drink more water than you usually do. Learn more at Rethink Your Drink.
- Eat breakfast every day.When you don’t eat breakfast, you are likely to make up for the calories you saved by eating more later on in the day. Many people who maintain long-term weight loss eat breakfast daily. Learn more at Keeping it Off.
Get Active, Healthy, and Happy
Maintain your physical activity routine. Regular physical activity is an important part of maintaining weight loss. Keep up your good habits before, during, and after the New Year. Make a goal with a friend to achieve the Physical Activity Guidelines! Visit CDC’s Physical Activity website for details.
- Regular physical activity helps with weight control, reduces the risk for many diseases, and strengthens muscles, bones and joints.
- Maintain your physical activity during the holidays — better yet, try to get more active!
- Find fun, creative ways your friends and family can spend time being active instead of eating.
Thank you to the CDC for contributing this information.