During the holiday season there are plenty of food to be enjoyed, between Thanksgiving, Christmas dinners, New Year’s Eve festivities and the arrival of a new year. For people looking to control their weight, the goal may seem like a challenge.

Harvard Health shares that each year we tend to gain about a pound and according to some research, most of that weight is gained during the holiday season.

There are a few ways to enjoy holiday foods and drinks while avoiding weight gain.

Harvard picks up on a study published in the BMJ in 2018 that suggests you can control weight gain over the Christmas holidays and shares the best advice followed by study participants in the intervention group who lost an average of 0.3 pounds, while the control group gained 0.8 lbs.

Tips for weight control during the holidays

1. Maintain a meal routine

Try to eat around the same time every day.

2. Opt for less fat

When possible, choose foods that are low in fat.

3. Move every day

Get physical activity daily, such as going for a walk, a short run, or riding a bike. One suggestion is to walk 10,000 steps each day.

4. Take healthy snacks with you

Instead of sweets like chocolate or snacks like chips, opt for healthy, low-calorie snacks like fresh fruit, nuts, or yogurt.

5. Check the labels

Before consuming packaged foods, check product labels for fat and sugar content. Limit consumption of high amounts of added sugar and unhealthy fats such as saturated fat.

6. Control portions

Be careful with the portions. “Don’t pile food on your plate and think twice before having a second helping,” suggests Harvard Health.

7. Consider the drinks to choose

Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Opt for water or other calorie-free beverages. Sugary drinks are the largest source of calories and added sugar in the diet. This includes sodas, colas, tonics, fruit punch, lemonade and other soft drinks, sweetened powdered drinks, as well as sports and energy drinks.

8. Avoid eating at high speed

Focus on your food. Avoid eating at high speed or in front of the television. Eating at high speed could lead you to overeat. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signal from the hormones that tell it that you are full. Eating slowly helps you feel fuller on fewer calories.

9. Eat enough fruits and vegetables

Eat two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

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