The holiday season may bring family, friends, food and presents, but it doesn’t have to pack on the pounds, said Connie Crawley, a Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.
She’s collected tips and tricks to make the holidays a little lighter-and a little less belt loosening.
To cut down on leftovers, make the amount of food appropriate for the number of people who will be eating. If there is extra food, send the leftovers home with the guests.
Adapt your recipes to contain healthier ingredients, but don’t surprise your guests with a dish you have just tweaked. Test these dishes prior to the celebration day.
Crawley said one key to sneaking in healthier foods is not to tell people that you have adjusted the recipe. If they know the dish is lower in fat or sugar, they may not give the food a chance and will expect it to taste bad, even if it doesn’t.
After dinner, don’t serve dessert right away. Let the food settle so your stomach has a chance to feel full.
In between dinners and parties, make healthy eating choices, and make sure you don’t skip physical activity. Half an hour to an hour of physical activity daily will reduce stress, decrease the risk for depression and keep you in shape.
“Weight gain for the average person is only a pound or two during the holidays,” Crawley said. “But people don’t get rid of that extra weight afterward, and that is what adds up over the years.”