Don’t let holiday eating add to your stress list

So many women get tense about the holidays for so many reasons, and one of the biggest is holiday weight gain. It seems like there’s food everywhere you look this time of year. And when you’re stressed out, your resistance is low.

It’s easier to stay strong when you have a few solid ideas for navigating the many temptations of the season. Enjoy every moment with friends and family and by knowing how and where to indulge.

Balance your food choices:

  • At holiday meals, choose only two carbohydrate choices per meal. For example, if you would like dessert, don’t eat stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a roll. Instead choose only stuffing, so that you can have dessert.
  • Do not skip breakfast and lunch to “save room” or calories for the big meal later! When you skip meals, your body digests slower and utilizes the food you have eaten much slower.
  • Eat at least 4-6 ounces of turkey at your holiday meal, choose the best vegetable available (consider bringing a salad), and allow for two carbohydrates.
  • Eat a lean source of protein for breakfast on the day of a holiday meal or party. Every complete meal should contain a source of protein and a healthy carbohydrate, along with a fruit or vegetable. This combination is especially important before holiday meals to help you control your portions and to ensure proper digestion. For example, eat 3-4 egg whites, 6 ounces of Greek yogurt, or 1/2 cup cottage cheese. Pair your protein with a fruit or veggie and a healthy carbohydrate like oatmeal, whole grain bread, or plain Cheerios.

Keep your portions reasonable. Tasty though it may be, food served at holiday meals tends to be starchy and non-nutritive. Here are a few workarounds:

  • Make one of your carb choices a “healthy carbohydrate” like sweet potato, brown rice, or a whole-grain roll.
  • If you love stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy, keep your portions to 1/4 cup of each and leave out dessert.
  • If you know a certain party will have alcohol and dessert, always choose one or the other.
  • If you have two parties or holiday meals to attend in a single day, try to eat only what you can fit in the palms of your hands at both meals.

Make your recipes healthier:

  • Replace regular sugar with Splenda Brown Sugar, a mix of Splenda and real brown sugar.
  • Replace regular full fat cooking oil with Smart Balance cooking oil.
  • Try seasoning with Smart Balance light butter.
  • Try a low-sodium chicken broth for stuffing.
  • Use whole wheat bread crumbs in your stuffing.
  • Use dried cranberries in a salad and leave the canned cranberry sauce off the menu.

To make an appointment with Adrienne D’Angelo, BS, Personal Trainer, Health & Fitness Specialist, AFPA Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, call 317-338-4HER (4437) or e-mail

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