Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Cathy S. Judd  |  12/20/2013 11:29:47 PM

Cathy Judd is the Area Nutrition Agent in Lincoln Parish with the LSU AgCenter.

Photo By: John Wozniak

During Thanksgiving and Christmas are you cooking up special recipes—ones you only prepare during the holidays? Eggnog, divinity, pecan pies, fudge, Martha Washington’s, etc… It’s been reported that we gain 1 to 2 pounds and some us even more during the holidays, pounds in which we never lose! That might account for the 20 to 30 extra pounds creeping up over a span of 10 to 15 years! So how do we avoid overindulging during this time of parties, socializing, extra calories and food everywhere?

If you are invited to a party, don’t go hungry. Eat a small snack or drink a tall glass of water before you go. Hungry will tempt you to overindulge.

You don’t want to deprive yourself at a party. Keeping track of the number of hor’derves you eat will keep you in control. Pick a limit you will eat and stick with it. Use a toothpick for each hor’derves on your plate so you can keep up with the amount you have eaten.

If the food is set up buffet style, take small healthy portions on a small plate. Move away from the table to avoid the temptation to take seconds. Distract yourself from over eating by visiting with others, talking, or dancing. Don’t make the focus of the party on the food.

Pace yourself, eat slowly, take small bites, and chew a bite 10 to 15 times. Put your fork down between bites. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to know your stomach is full.

Watch your alcohol consumption. Alcoholic drinks have calories and can increase your appetite. If you need to sip on a drink during the party, sip on refreshing water with an orange or lemon wedge.

When you are selecting dessert, be choosey. Pick a small portion of your favorite. If you want to sample several, take a bite size sample. If you think you might lose control, take a small portion of one dessert. You might be like me, one bite of several desserts and I can’t stop!

Controlling your portion sizes and healthy selection might mean bringing your own treats to a party or family meal. You can stick to your healthy attitude by bringing non-traditional foods, vegetables, fruits, whole wheat snacks, etc.

While making your Christmas meals, appetizers, and/or desserts beware of the taste test. Several tablespoon of sampling food adds up. You might mindlessly eat over 200 calories tasting samples! Limit tasting to only a few small samples.

Start a family tradition of walking after your big holiday meals. This is a great way to walk off calories and get everyone away from the food! Walking will be a great way to get everyone outside for a little exercise.

Depriving yourself is dangerous during the holiday season, remember everything in moderation!

If you would like to get on the right track, join the Smart Portion’s class that will be taught in 2014. Call the LSU AgCenter for more information.
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