Thursday, November 15, 2012

Don't Let the Holidays Weigh You Down! How to Use All That Food to Your Advantage

Thanksgiving is in one week. WHAT?! Where did this year go?

I feel safe saying that most of us love the holidays, but those fond feelings are often accompanied by worry...about weight management plans, dieting, blood sugar control or heart health. Well don't worry. You can enjoy the holidays and stick to your health plan at the same time--it just takes a little forethought and advanced planning.

Maintaining your weight (or losing weight) is all about balancing the calories you take in and the calories you burn. Although a Thanksgiving meal can add up to several thousand calories, this one meal won't make or break your weight loss plan. The keys to maintaining your weight throughout the holidays are:

1. Healthy selections
Make smart selections that have fewer calories and less fat such as lots of veggies, white meat vs. dark and beverages with fewer calories. If you're in charge of a dish, choose something healthy to bring.

2. Recipe modifications
Use simple recipe swaps that reduce calories, fat and sugar. Click here for a free downloadable list of simple recipe substitutions.

3. Portion control
Love your grandma's pumpkin pie? You only get it once a year, so go for it! Just have one slice and skip other desserts. Or take a very small portion of a couple.

4. Managing leftovers
The Thanksgiving feast shouldn't last for days on end. That's how calories can really add up over the holidays! Click on the link below to get tips on managing leftovers--use them to your advantage and save yourself some time in the kitchen over the busy holiday season!

5. Exercise
Do not, do not, do not slack off on exercise just because of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Yes, you may have some additional tasks on you plate...shopping, wrapping, cooking, etc. but that is no excuse to let exercise go completely. Burning calories is key to balancing the ones you eat! Click on the link below for some fall/winter activities that burn calories and don't even feel like exercise.

Just because you choose to indulge a little on Thanksgiving (and you should) doesn't mean you have to go off the deep end and continue the pattern until the New Year begins! Think ahead, make a plan you can stick to and enjoy time with those you love.

Read more about these tips in my Yahoo! Voices article: Don't Let Thanksgiving Leftovers Weigh You Down This Year!

Photo attributed to LeeBrimelow via Flickr. Use of this photo is subject to Creative Commons license.