The holidays are a wonderful time of year full of quality time with family and friends. Unfortunately, along with the quality time also comes an abundance of food… rich, delicious, sweets and treats – and they’re everywhere! Its begins in October when a seemingly innocuous plate of holiday cookies appears in the office. Most of us indulge “just this once” over and over again for weeks on end, without realizing it. It’s when week 8 of those innocent holiday sweets in the office rolls around and you’re pants are becoming a little too tight, do you finally realize what has happened. People all over the country for a few months out of the year are forced to wage war on perfectly placed bowls of candy at mom’s house, or the holiday plate of fudge waiting for us on our desk from Jane in Accounting. In the end, most of us quickly raise the white flag and give up on maintaining a healthy diet throughout the holidays – resulting in a few extra jolly pounds accompanying us into the New Year.
Just before the holiday dedicated to getting stuffed, we asked ANNIKA Academy Director of Fitness, Kai Fusser, to answer a few general “holiday eating” questions. His answers will equip you with tools you begin using today to keep the holiday weight gain to a minimum.
What is the appropriate amount of holiday sweets you CAN eat?
My motto is, “everything in moderation!” A little bit of sweets won’t hurt. Make sure you exercise and eat high protein, moderate carb, and high fiber foods prior to attending a party.
Are a few cookies too many?
This depends on what else you are eating with the cookies. My suggestion would be to just select your favorite and stick with that. This will help you to better manage exactly how much you are eating of one thing, compared to trying to keep track of a bunch of different kinds of calories from a variety of sweets.
What foods should you definitely avoid, and what might be okay in moderation?
When at a holiday party, survey buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced. Avoid drinking too much alcohol as well, as that will set you up for more cravings.
Do you have any tips as to what to eat instead?
If you overeat at one meal, go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal consumption to gain one pound. You will not gain weight from one piece of pie!
What are some tricks to fighting the cravings at Holiday parties?
Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
The holidays are a time when people are challenged to make the right choices for their diet and their health. It’s important to be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight. When indulging in a few holiday treats, eat them in moderation and try to focus on the people you’re with - not the food!