Countdown to The Little Black Dress

It’s that time of the year for parties, when everyone wants to look and feel their very best. Let me give you some tips on how to slip into style and avoid holiday weight gain.

 According to research, the average person attends 4 holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Years. The bad news is that this weight tends to stick with us as we pack on more in the next year. Now is an ideal time to balance holiday indulgences with sensible eating. Instead of focusing on what foods and beverages to avoid, we should enjoy eating delicious nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese which provides us with us with key vitamins and minerals that Americans are lacking. I have four easy steps that can help viewers/audience zip through the holidays and zip their little black dress by New Year’s Eve.

1. First, we need to graze; not gorge. Many of us refuse meals and snacks prior to a party, so we can load up in buffet line. This can lead to a diet disaster! To prevent overeating, try a protein packed snack before you go. Some of my favorite pre party snacks include yogurt topped with granola, sliced apple with cheese or ½ peanut butter sandwich with a glass of milk.

2. Nosh on nutrient-rich foods. When you are navigating a holiday buffet, fill half your plate with brightly colored fruits & vegetables from the crudités tray. Choose a few cubes of cheese from the cheese platter with whole grain crackers. Then, round out your plate with lean protein like shrimp cocktail, sliced turkey or roast beef. Remember many favorite holiday foods are considered nutrient rich: Cranberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, nuts are a great source of protein, fiber and heart healthy monounsaturated fat, sweet potatoes boast vitamin A and beta carotene, and cheese provides a unique combination of nutrients including calcium and protein.

3. Control calories once we are at the party. It can be difficult, but is an important step in preventing weight gain. In fact, researchers from Texas A&M International University report Americans scarf down an extra 619 calories per day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Reducing calorie intake takes learning how to “perfect your portions.” Selecting small portions allows you to control your calorie intake yet sample the different tastes of the items offered. If you are hosting a party, consider a tasting party for your guests. A tasting party offers appetizers, desserts and beverages in smaller easier to handle party pieces. Recipes made with nutrient rich foods, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, & yogurt is the first step to build a healthy diet.

4. You CAN fit exercise into your busy holiday schedules. Whether it’s a holiday or a work day, we should never take a vacation from exercise. Physical activity, especially aerobic activities (like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming) can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating. If you find it hard to stick to an exercise routine, work exercise into your holiday preparations: instead of online shopping walk around the mall, park further away from the mall entrance and avoid crowd traffic by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Make time with your family to enjoy a walk around the neighborhood to view the decorations. For good health, we need 30 to 60 minutes every day, including holidays.

Jump start the New Year with a new way of eating by shifting the focus from foods and beverages to avoid to foods you can enjoy.