Have a plan to control flurry of party feasts
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a flurry of holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations.
And with those get-togethers come loads of food. That can seem discouraging to partygoers who are trying to watch their weight.
But experts say the health-conscious eater is not doomed â€” you can still enjoy all the holiday fare and festivities.
The key, they say, is to go into the situation with a plan and keep moderation in mind.
â€œI usually tell people if they know theyâ€™re going to a party where thereâ€™s going to be a lot of tempting items is to make sure to eat a small meal before you go so youâ€™re not ravenous when you get there,â€ said Heather Royle, Lincoln Medical Centerâ€™s clinical dietitian.
The fiber in a piece of fruit will go a long way in filling you up, she said.
Sandy Payne, who teachers a Weight Watchers class in Lincolnton, is also an advocate of having a mental game plan before going to the big feast.
â€œWe try to plan ahead. Itâ€™s a mental rehearsal,â€ Payne said. â€œWe think about it in advance. We make sure we enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner, but we donâ€™t overeat.â€
Neither says that any food on the Thanksgiving table is off-limits. You can have some of everything you like, as long as you keep the portion sizes under control.
Royle recommends eating off a small plate. This makes smaller servings seem larger. And if you do choose to have seconds, you wonâ€™t feel as guilty because of the smaller portion you consumed.
â€œI donâ€™t like to say thereâ€™s any food off limits,â€ Royle said. â€œThereâ€™s no magic bullet â€” itâ€™s all in the amounts that we eat.â€
If you want to indulge in a traditional Thanksgiving food that might not be as healthy, do it, just in a smaller way.
â€œIf you deprive yourself, youâ€™re going to overeat later on,â€ she said.
Keeping up with regular exercise plans is crucial, Royle said.
â€œInstead of sitting on the couch after a huge meal â€¦ do some type of exercise to help burn off those calories,â€ she said.
Taking a brisk walk or heading outside for a game of touch football is an easy and fun way to avoid an after-meal nap on the couch.
Royle said it is easy to put on weight during the holiday season, especially if youâ€™re going to multiple parties. But keeping a positive attitude and sticking to a plan can help you sail through.
â€œIf you do really overdo it on some foods, donâ€™t beat yourself up about it. Know you can get out and do better the next day,â€ she said.
Royle offered the following tips to employees at Lincoln Medical Center.
Â· Be realistic. Trying to lose weight during the holidays may be a self-defeating goal. Instead strive to maintain your weight.
Â· Balance party eating with other meals. Eat small, low-calorie meals during the day.
Â· Take the edge off your hunger before a party by eating a small, low-fat snack.
Â· Conversation is calorie-free. Donâ€™t rush to the table when you arrive at a party.
Â· Ask for sparkling water and a lime twist instead of wine, champagne or a mixed drink.
Â· If bringing a dish, make it a healthy one. That way, youâ€™ll know thereâ€™s always something with fewer calories you can munch on.
Â· Forget the all-or-nothing mindset. Deprivation can lead to overeating.
Â· When youâ€™re entertaining, make over your menus with fewer calories and fat. Guests probably wonâ€™t even know the difference.
Â· Have fun. Sharing food is part of many peopleâ€™s celebrations. Enjoying a traditional holiday meal and party foods with family and friends doesnâ€™t need to destroy healthful food habits youâ€™ve nurtured all year long.
Â· Physical activity is a good way to burn calories before you head out and can make you feel less guilty when enjoying party favorites.by Alice Smith