Does your belly feel like a bowl full of jelly?

written by Rebecca Buddy - Dec. 22, 2016

Did you know that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is three to five pounds? Don’t let your belly turn into “a bowl full of jelly.”

The holiday season may not be the best time to attempt weight loss with holiday parties and plentiful feasts, but it is possible to maintain your weight and not spread your waistline.

With some planning, fitting holiday treats into a healthful eating plan is easy. All foods can fit into healthy eating plan if you choose smaller portions of high fat and calorie foods that are popular this time of year.

SIU registered dietitian Sara Lopinski has these suggestions when cooking and preparing food:

  • Substitute evaporated skim milk for heavy cream in side dishes and sauces.
  • Use chicken broth in place of butter for potatoes and stuffing.
  • Substitute an equal amount of applesauce for at least half the oil, margarine or butter in muffins, desserts and quick breads like banana bread.

Lopinski also suggests some simple guidelines for healthy holiday eating:

Be prepared
Accept the fact that temptations are high during the holiday season. Fight inevitable cravings by increasing physical activity, which can help suppress your appetite

Be realistic
Don’t try to diet. Your goal should be to maintain weight, not lose it. Remember that calories in must equal calories out to keep your weight the same.

Be selective
Choose the holiday favorites you MUST have. Don’t try to cut out high-fat holiday favorites like eggnog and candied sweet potatoes. Instead, choose small portions and fill the rest of your plate with lower fat, higher fiber choices, such as apples, cranberry dishes, baked squash, pumpkin, whole grain breads and pastas.

Plan ahead
To avoid surrendering to high-fat fast foods on hectic days, pre-plan several quick, healthy meals. Have these readily available in the refrigerator or freeze for quick reheating. When going to a party, offer to bring a favorite low-calorie dish, so you know there will be at least one “safe” item available.

Try to drink water throughout the day to help curb your appetite.

Get moving
Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.

Win the weight gain battle by shifting entertainment to non-food events such as dancing, playing games, ice-skating or singing carols. It’s your key to maintaining good health and a healthy weight.

Copyright, SIU School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois