Don't Let the Holidays Go to Waist

How to nibble away at overeating

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- It's time to start planning how to avoid packing on the pounds as you're tempted to pack in all that delicious holiday food.

The holiday season extends about six weeks, starting tomorrow and lasting through New Year's, and you need to work out a game plan to ensure your waistline stays under control, says Purdue University foods and nutrition expert Olivia Bennett Wood.

You can counter weight gain by adding 10 or 15 minutes to your exercise routines or by putting some extra thought into your holiday meal preparations, Wood says.

Before you go to a holiday party or dinner, eat some small nutritious snacks. That will help moderate your food intake at the party or dinner. When you're at a party, beware of unconscious eating where you keep reaching for food without even thinking about it.

Wood offers some advice for people hosting a holiday function. Rather than a buffet, have a single menu. It doesn't have to include numerous entrees or desserts. Have one main dish and two side dishes. Skip a side dish if you include an appetizer or dessert.

Desserts should be simple or light -- fresh pineapple with pomegranate seeds, for instance.

Here are some other hosting suggestions:

  • Include low-calorie items such as fresh vegetables and fruit with low-calorie or no dip.
  • Provide low-calorie beverages.
  • Don't push food on people. They know when they've had enough to eat.
  • Don't equate the amount of food eaten with the success of your recipes or your party.
  • When you prepare the food, read labels carefully. Some items that are labeled low fat may actually have almost the same number of calories as the regular product.

More Information

Additional ideas for avoiding holiday overeating and stress are included in this list of holiday tips.

SOURCE: Purdue University, news release, November 2002
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