the war against overeating, the holiday season presents a
virtual minefield of tempting sweets and sumptuous feasts that
can result in unwanted pounds.
with these dangers, do we just hoist the white flag of
say dietitians. Arm yourself with strategies to sidestep the
kind of indulgence that leads to remorse when January rolls
pervasive "overabundance of treats and food" makes
healthy holiday eating difficult, said Mandy Burbank,
registered dietician, Grand Forks, N.D., Public Health
it’s the treats that are brought to the workplace or the
tradition of getting together to make Christmas cookies, there’s
an overabundance of calories. And it’s around us all the
time," she said.
hard to say ‘no’ when you walk into the break room and see
all those treats," she said.
weather, people tend to turn to comfort foods, "cooking
like Grandma did and with less healthy ingredients," said
Jennifer Haugen, registered dietician with Altru Health System
in Grand Forks.
today "are more sedentary; we’re not walking behind a
plow," she said. "We’re sitting and tapping at a
computer. But our (eating) habits don’t really change. …
We have to make it a priority to be active or to schedule
of gluttony lasts "from mid-November to the first of the
year," Burbank said, "when that New Year’s
resolution attitude kicks in."
the holidays, she suggests finding ways to get more exercise.
"Sneak in more physical activity naturally, like parking
in another lot that is farther from work," Burbank said.
the job, don’t keep candy at your desk, she said. You’ll
cut 125 extra calories a day by placing the dish out of sight
or six feet away from your workspace.
ahead, said Haugen. "Have healthful foods, like low-fat
yogurt, available so you don’t go to the break room and have
to have that brownie."
you bring a healthy snack to work and tell yourself,
"This is my snack," you’re engaging in
"mindful," not mindless, eating.
to include fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks, she
said. Choose foods that are high in fiber, vitamin-rich, are
more filling and have fewer calories.
hydrated throughout the day, Burbank said. "The body
doesn’t distinguish between hunger and thirst," she
said. Drinking plenty of water "can stave off the hunger
pangs that come with trying to restrict calories."
the foods you usually eat more appealing by incorporating
cranberries or other colorful fruits, Burbank said. "Add
cinnamon and Craisins or raisins to a bowl of oatmeal. When
foods are more attractive, people will usually choose
it." This is especially true for children, who are drawn
to food that’s "fun-looking and really bright, really
is paramount, too, when you’re hosting a party at home,
Burbank said. "When you serve healthy food as the first
items on a buffet and on fancy dishes, people generally take
more," she said.
the line with really pretty fruit, a nice vegetable tray or
fruit kabobs," she said.
meal planning, Haugen said, she was taught "to always
look at the plate."
of turkey, mashed potatoes and corn "is a ‘tan plate,’"
she said. Switch out some elements for "Brussels sprouts
and sweet potatoes, or a spinach salad with pomegranate seeds
and vinaigrette. You get all the holiday colors (as well as)
fruits, such as apples or pears, into stuffing recipes, she
blending cranberries with Brussels sprouts, for example, and
using seasonal vegetables to get good colors into food, you’re
blending different flavors."
recommends tweaking traditional and comfort foods. In mashed
potatoes, for example, omit sour cream, cheese and butter, she
said, and used mashed cauliflower instead.
gives a creamy texture, and you’ve added a vegetable,"
suggests reducing your calorie intake throughout the day if
you’re planning to attend a party that night.
the party, eat a snack from two food groups, Burbank said.
"Eating something high in fiber and something high in
protein will keep you feeling fuller longer."
recommends eating a piece of fruit with low-fat cheese or
whole-grain bread "so you’re not famished" when
you go to the party.
hungry, those high-calorie foods "will look twice as
tempting," she said.
foods look best when you’re hungry? Those that are high-fat
and high-sugar," Haugen said. "Don’t skip meals,
with the idea that you’re going to ‘save up’ calories
for later. If you don’t skip meals, you’re more likely to
make wiser choices."
party, use a smaller plate, Burbank said. "You will eat
suggests drinking one calorie-filled beverage followed by one
non-caloric beverage, such as water. People are not aware of
the calories they consume from beverages as much as those from
food, she said. "So, it’s a pretty good place to
overindulge — even with fruit punch, and especially if they’ve
added 7-Up to it or a calorie-full soda, which oftentimes they
nonfood gifts that encourage physical activity, such as passes
to a local water park or bowling, she said. Or, instead of
food, give a service, such as free baby-sitting.
part of our culture, Burbank said. "It’s tied into all
those feelings that go with it. We like to treat ourselves. We
like to treat each other."
emotional underpinnings of tradition make it tougher to choose
hard to break those habits," she said. "They need to
be not broken, but maybe adjusted a bit. …
those traditional foods that you look forward to, just eat
less of them."