Even though the holidays are filled with lots of fun and food, watching your waistline does not have to be futile. Here are a few ways to cut calories without compromising flavor or fun.
Avoid Deprivation and Hunger
- Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Take the edge off your appetite: try a snack of fruit with low-fat yogurt before any eating episode.
- Hunger invites over-eating, loss of control and all good intentions.
At the Meal
- Start a meal with a low calorie starter like a broth based soup or green salad (salad dressing on the side). Enjoy conversations and try to stretch out the meal to at least 20 minutes to allow fullness to set in.
- Use a smaller plate and a salad fork to help control portions.
- Be a food snob. If you don't love it, don't eat it.
- Watch out for the hidden calories in poultry skin, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter and whipped cream.
- Know the calorie cost. Don't waste calories on foods that really aren't worth it. Use a calorie app on your smartphone to look up the calories.
- Liquid calories in alcohol and punches can add up quickly; substitute beverages sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener like aspartame. Stick to one drink if you must have alcohol. Water is the best beverage for staying hydrated and it has zero calories!
- Place your knife and fork on the edge of the plate to signal the END of your meal to avoid second helpings.
After the feast
- Move – take a walk whenever possible, even if it’s at the shopping mall.
- Plan your next meal – do not skip meals
Molly Gee, MEd, RD, LD, Baylor College of Medicine, provides expert counsel to the Aspartame Resource Center.