Eyes bigger than your stomach? Oddly it’s a common ailment during the holidays. As we relax and enjoy, we graze. To avoid unwanted weight gain, the amount of food we eat should be guided by our activity level, age, and gender. Healthy eating is balancing how much we should eat each day with choices that meet our body’s needs.
With all the different things we do in a day, your body sorts through the food you eat, taking what it needs. Extra is either wasted or stored. Think of your body fat as drawers for storage, which can expand. That’s great if you are a piece of furniture, not so great on you. Your body stores carbohydrates found in sugar, flour, and fats as fat deposits. To prevent unhealthy weight gain, avoid items such as sugar-laden drinks, pies, cakes, and deep-fried foods. If it’s too tempting, try to limit yourself to a taste.
When it comes to eating during the holidays, make good food choices. Avoiding fat is not a solution. Our body does require fat for energy and to help absorb essential vitamins (A, D, E, and K). The key is choosing healthy fats, avoid trans fats, limit your saturated fats, and moderate your unsaturated fats. Your pharmacist can help answer questions about healthy choices, diet concerns, and how diet can affect the medications you take.
Although it can be difficult to fight the temptations of a holiday spread, here are a few tips to help limit your intake:
- Keep only healthy snacks around the house – and eat them when you feel peckish
- Best snacks are not processed – examples include berries, nuts, and raw vegetables
- Shop with a grocery list, stick to it, shop alone, and always shop after you have had a meal
- Have healthy snacks prepared and “ready to eat”
- Prewash/cut vegetables and fruit in easy to grab, small portions
- Choices help – have a variety of snacks
- Limit serving sizes and quantity of prepared snacks so there’s no waste
- Avoid mounding your plate, challenge yourself to sample choice selections, and limit to one layer of food
- Balance your plate for variety, have vegetables, protein, and a small amount of carbohydrates
- Hydration is your friend – drink some water before eating and during your meal
- Pause for conversation during your meal and slow your eating
- Want a sugar fix? Try a small amount of dried fruit which gives you the added “chew” to make you feel satisfied, or fresh berries
Make the most of your holidays, as it is about time well spent. It is about time well spent. Plan to have game time or conversation rather than hovering over a meal. It’s easier to avoid seconds when the temptation is removed. Ask your pharmacist about healthy food choices or supplements that interest you.