MARQUETTE - The holidays may be a time for celebrating but that doesn't mean anyone needs to pack on the pounds. All that's needed are some simple tips and tricks to make the holidays a fun time without paying for it later.
The first thing to remember is to stop snacking during the day. Mindless snacking while preparing the holiday meal isn't good because it fills you up before the main course as even begun. Add to that the meal that is being prepared is a special meal that only happens once a year, so being full isn't going to stop someone from eating even more.
"Prepare the food; bake the cookies but save the food for the festivities," Mike Koskiniemi, owner of Motions Fitness, said. " Where the weight gain comes is when people can't get away from the food there are putting it in all day long."
Journal digital illustration by Selena Hautamaki
The reverse is also true, people will starve themselves during the day thinking it will be OK to overeat later. To keep off the pounds there has to be moderation. Have that cookie or glass of egg nog just be mindful how many and how much is eaten afterwards.
"You need to eat as normally as possible this will prevent overeating," Registered Dietitian Sherri Rule said.
If there is fear of overeating taking a smaller portion or using a smaller plate so the plate looks fuller can help decrease weight gain. Focusing on eating fruits and vegetables instead of calorie rich food can help too. Also watch how many drinks are consumed. Holiday drinks like egg nog and alcohol are packed with calories.
"It is unrealistic to think you are going to an event and not going to enjoy the food during that time," Rule said. "We really need to be patient and plan. Knowing when these events are and understanding that there is going to be a lot of calorie rich food."
Now if cutting out family favorites at the dinner table sounds like too much then make simple substitutions. Substations that can make holiday dishes healthier but taste just as good as the original. For example if the recipe for mash potatoes calls for butter and sour cream use herbs and spices and chicken or beef broth to cut the calories and not the flavor. Heavy Cream can be replaced with low fat cream cheese, skim milk can replace whole milk, yogurt instead of sour cream, and apple sauce instead of vegetable oil. If cutting back on sugar is the goal sugar can be reduced by 25 to 50 percent in some recipes to make it healthier.
" You don't have to avoid these foods but just cut back, " Rule said. "Really try to watch your sugars those foods tend to have a lot of extra calories."
When not out at parties try to make time for exercise even if it is only 15 minutes. Don't forget that with this time of year comes shopping for Christmas gifts and that means walking and lifting heavy bags which equals exercise. With how busy the holidays can be getting a little exercise during a spare moment is better then none. If lacking motivation join a class or ask a friend to be an exercise buddy during the holidays.
"A lot of people want to wait until after the holidays to get started but what better time to get started then the holidays," Koskiniemi said. "Your excited and motivated and there's people around. It is so festive and fun."
Sylvia Stevens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.