Fighting Holiday Weight Gain: Eating Tips for Healthier Holidays in Houston

It’s here! The most festive time of the year has arrived. We can now partake in all the delicious, traditional eats that Houston has to offer and you better believe even our team at Angels Medical hopes you really enjoy all the cakes, pies, and candies that come along with the holidays! But if you want to avoid coming to see our doctors about a weight loss program in the new year, Here are some tips to help enjoy the holidays without a diet, but still staying healthy.

Shopping

Shop Full.

Never go shopping hungry. To avoid the extra candies and baking supplies that were necessary in-store but not so necessary when at home, avoid going shopping hungry. You stand a better chance against the temptations of the grocery stores, and the call for a quick stop at Tacos A Go-Go for the favorite, must-have street tacos.

Shop smart. 

Grocery stores can be dangerous with huge amounts of people, lots of tension in the air, and limited specials with holiday discount displays everywhere. Try shopping during off-hours. You can take your time to read labels and choose healthier foods rather than quick foods. 

Shop Fresh.

Get fruits and veggies in your meals. Cook them in ways that celebrate their natural flavors instead of hiding them under heavy sauces or glazes. Fresh, raw snacks and sides are also a great way to the purest of nutrients from your food.

Shop Creative.

Lighten up your recipes. Reduce fat and calories without missing out on taste by making substitutions.  

  • Try apple sauce or honey for sweetener, 
  • coconut oil, avocado, or olive oil for healthier fats and a new taste to an old recipe. 
  • Trail mixes for on the go snacking with nuts and dried fruits, and no candies. 

2. Partying

Whether acting as host at a party or a guest the questions of what, when and how much to prepare or prepare for is important.

From the obligatory workplace parties to family get-togethers, your calendar may be bursting with opportunities to eat and drink outside of your regular routine. Make a plan that will help you resist plowing through the buffet table, like having a healthy snack beforehand.

If going to a party is on schedule, eat a healthy meal before going, in order to snack lightly, thus enjoying and not eating all the desserts.

It is also good when at a party to use a small plate to eat from.  Research shows we tend to fill our plates, no matter what size they are. So, choose a small plate and you won’t be able to fit as much on it. Fill your plate with veggies, fruits, green salads, and lean meats.

 If you see a yummy looking side dish that is high in calories, take just a taste of it. You can go back for more later if you’re still hungry. Chances are, after filling up on all that healthy food, you won’t be too hungry. 

After you’ve eaten your small plate of healthy choices, wait 10 minutes. This will give your brain the time it needs to tell your stomach if it’s full. Often, after that amount of time, our hunger cravings will be satisfied.

When drinking alcohol is acceptable, start off with a low-calorie, non-alcoholic drink, such as sparkling water or a diet soda. This will help quench your thirst. Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones throughout the evening.

Eat mindfully. Savor each bite. Notice the rare and delicious seasonal tastes that come around only once a year. Put your fork down between bites. Enjoy the feeling of seasonal eating.

3. Every-day-Eating

Eat regularly. The old myth of saving room for party food doesn’t work. Eat meals at times that are normal in your everyday lifestyle. Why? For starters, you’ll have more self-control to avoid those appetizers you don’t really need and you’re less likely to over eat.

These are things we know to do throughout the rest of the year, but often forget when we start to break out the holiday goodies. 

Holiday Must: Protein

Higher-protein diets increase satiety (compared to lower-protein diets), meaning you’re more satisfied and less likely to overeat. Plan for plant, fish or animal-based proteins, egg-based dishes, sliced meats or cheeses, bean salads or bean-based dips, yogurts, and nut mixes. Then add the sides of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains or finger foods. Follow this link for some recipe ideas.

Conclusion: Enjoyment, not Punishment

It is a truth that we must all face; fat, sugar, and spices are delicious and fattening. 

When added to our holiday’s events and traditions they bring with them the memories of love laughter and full bellies. That is why even the medical professionals of Angels Medical agree it’s super important to enjoy grandma’s 100-year-old pumpkin pie recipe, some festive holiday drinks at the Christmas Cocktail Pop-up Bar or your very own Christmas sugar cookie decorating party. But if you don’t want to spend the next year of your life fighting off the holiday pudge, you’d be well-served to practice a few of these smart eating tips so you can REALLY enjoy the holidays today and long after!

If you’re interested in more healthy ways to enjoy this season keep your eyes peeled for our next post about great ideas for staying active during the holidays!