foodWe are surrounded with the joy of the holidays, gatherings, parties, celebrations decorating and food. The thought of tasty morsels and delicate treats tempt us in every turn with commercials, magazines and social media. The famous Lucille Ball bonbons in the chocolate factory episode comes to mind as she struggles to keep up with the assembly line while devouring countless bonbons. An exaggeration but if you think about it, we tend to gobble down the once-a-year treats in a similar fashion. The average amount of calories consumed on Christmas day is from 5000 to 7,500 and that does not include the added daily consumption.

The Holiday season is a challenging time to watch your diet but there are ways that you can have your cake and eat it, too. With a mindful approach to eating and continuing with exercise, you can enjoy the holidays and not face the extra pounds in January. A little holiday strategy can help you not to fall into food overdrive.

Attending a holiday party? Holiday parties are enticing with lavish displays of goodies high in calories during your mealtime. Eating something before you go lessens the desire to fill the plate.

Avoid grazing at parties. It is easy to rationalize if you did not get a plate then you are not eating as much with the one bite pickup approach. The one bite pickups quickly become more than the serving you would have enjoyed if you had gotten a plate. The joy of baking and receiving baked goods are a seasonal highlight and easy to take the approach that just one will not hurt. By the end of the day, one has turned into two or three with mounting calories.

Enjoy your treats by cutting down on the amount you eat and try to eat them earlier in the day. While dining at home limit your portions by eating off a smaller plate such as a salad plate and, if you are dining out, take home a portion of your meal or the next day’s lunch or dinner. When ordering a dessert, opt to share with a friend or spouse. There can be a tendency to skip meals during the holidays because you are so busy. Skipping meals adds to more caloric intake when you finally eat. Carry a protein bar with you while you are on your shopping excursions and avoid that tempting drive-through for the fast food. Take a healthy food choice as your contribution to a holiday party or family gathering.

At the hors d’oeuvres table, instead of eating that ham or turkey in a roll, pick up that protein and dip it in a sauce or roll it up with a veggie. Try to avoid continuous taste testing while you are preparing a meal or making holiday treats.

Liquid calories in signature holiday drinks, hot chocolate and eggnog are large contributors to added calories. Enjoy your beverage with just one mindset. Drink water in a fancy glass with seasonal fruit.

In addition to diet challenges, your fitness routine may take backstage during the season, but you can put pep in that step with a little creativity. Park further away in the shopping center and walk briskly to and from. Take the stairs when they are available or brisk walks for lesser distance and time. Runs during the holidays can be fun with themed runs and you can dance around the house to holiday music.

Live, love, life and embrace the season by having your cake and eating it, too.

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