’Tis the Season to Strategize - 24Seven Wellness & Living

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It is hard to ignore that the season of chestnuts roasting, geese-a-gettin’-fat, maids-a-milking and sugar plums dancing is upon us. Try as we might, during the holidays it is challenging to say the least to stay mindful of the quantity and type of calories we are consuming; there are just so many overt promptings to indulge.

Whether the occasion is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or New Year’s Eve here is 24Seven Wellness & Living’s Guide to help you navigate your way to feeling a little less like a stuffed turkey come January 2nd!

EAT BEFORE YOU LEAVESounds crazy I know, but an empty stomach is an invitation to binge.  If you have taken the edge off your hunger you will be less likely to indulge in the bread basket, dip or tortilla chips before the entrée has even arrived. Drink a large glass of water just before a big holiday dinner.  If you are hosting, serve a soup course first.  The warm liquid gives a feeling of satiety and may help you and your guests eat less.

USE A SMALLER PLATE – Using a smaller plate should help you portion control, cover most of your plate with vegetables and salad and keep your turkey portion to no more than 5-6 ½ ounces.  Although great lean protein, there is still no reason to go overboard.

AVOID CANDIED YAMS – Instead, try yams baked with minimal condiments or whipped with straightforward seasonings and chicken broth in lieu of butter and milk.  Yams are a wonderful source of beta carotene and fiber.

DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES Champagne, wine, cocktails, spiked eggnog are incredibly high in calories and light on nutrients.  So you get all of the bad stuff and none of the good.  The more you drink, the more you eat, it’s a vicious circle. So make every other drink a cool glass of calorie-free water, drink spritzers half wine, half soda water or buy/make a low-fat or fat-free version eggnog and leave out the spirits.

FILL UP ON HEALTHY FARE FIRSTIf you are off to a party and you know there is going to be a buffet, attack the fresh fruits and vegetable platters first.  Fruit and vegetables are abundant in fiber, which will make you feel full faster.

ENJOY SMALLER PORTIONS – When you are faced with all the good (meaning bad) things, it is so difficult not to be tempted.  So instead of missing out on all those wonderful things you dream of having all year, have them, but only have a very small portion of each.  This way you won’t feel deprived, and your waistline will thank-you for it.

BEWARE GRAVY, DIPS AND SAUCES – Oh, they look so harmless, but one tablespoon of gravy made from turkey drippings can contain up to seventy calories.  That can also be said for those creamy dips, salad dressings and cheesy sauces.  One dip and your healthy carrot stick turns into a calorific nightmare.  Try and stick to salsas made with fresh herbs and tomatoes to dip your chip. Keep stuffing portions small. The family stuffing recipe is a favorite and not to be missed, but a small taste to take you down memory lane is probably plenty. Proceed with caution as this dish often contains bacon drippings, butter, a lot of sodium and other self-defeating ingredients.

OY VEY! – Don’t underestimate the Hanukkah table, which is full of rich, heavy foods, including brisket, cheeses, latkes, jelly-filled doughnuts and other sweet treats.  Look for or make lighter versions.

DON’T JUST SIT THERE – Instead of watching football all day, start a tradition of having family and friends gather on the lawn before or after the big meal to toss the football around, or go for a long walk, the kids will enjoy the activity and the unity of the family doing something active together.

DON’T SET YOURSELF UP FOR FAILUREWith all the extra demands you’ll be facing, keeping to your normal workout schedule will be difficult.  It’s easy to get frustrated when your expectations are not in line with reality. When it just isn’t possible to fit in your regular routines it can lead to the tendency to not bother at all.  Therefore, make a schedule that you can achieve, this way, you won’t beat yourself up when parties and shopping have to take priority.  Make your workouts time efficient with super sets, circuit training and integrated total body exercises.  A maintenance program will keep you in good shape until you have more time on your hands.

Ok, you are now officially ready to party.