Holiday Helpings Can Weigh You Down

Here's how to stay slimmer and trimmer this season

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THURSDAY, Nov. 25, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Make sure you and your family don't pack on the pounds as you pack in the fun this holiday season.

To help keep holiday waistlines under control, experts at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles offer some holiday weight management advice for parents and children:

  • Instead of going on a diet, your family should practice healthy eating before the holidays.
  • If you're going to a party, eat healthy foods before you go. Snack on baby carrots or slices of red, yellow, and green peppers during the day and before you leave for the party. Get your children to snack on these veggies, too. They will curb your appetite and you'll be less tempted to overeat at the party.
  • Limit your children to one dessert per holiday event. Make sure you discuss this with them in advance.
  • A moderate and daily increase in exercise can partially offset your increased food intake over the holidays. Try to get your family out for 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day. Plan active family outings instead of going to the movies.
  • If you're hosting a party, provide plenty of vegetable snacks for your guests. Prepare low-fat dips and salsa. Explain to your guests beforehand that you're trying to offer healthy fare and that they should keep this in mind if they're going to bring food to your party.
  • Avoid or limit high-calorie beverages such as soda, juices, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. There are nearly 150 calories in a 12-ounce can of soda or juice and 250 to 500 calories in smoothies and blended coffee drinks (and that doesn't include whipped cream).
  • Don't skip meals. If you do, you'll be more likely to overeat at parties or holiday feasts.
  • At holiday meals, eat more roasted turkey, which is naturally lower in fat and calories, and less gravy, stuffing, and dessert.
  • Send leftovers home with guests.
  • Eat slowly. It will help you eat less while still feeling full and satisfied.
  • Use smaller cookie cutters when making holiday cookies. To keep you from sampling too many goodies while you bake, have healthy snacks -- such as diced apples, pears, or strawberries -- in your cooking area.
  • Maintaining your weight, not losing weight, should be your goal for the holidays. Stay positive. Don't let your weight or food cravings control you.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this nutrition advice.

SOURCE: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, news release, Nov. 9, 2004

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