Welcome to my blog! I'm Jean Weiler, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Services Manager, Hudson Hospital & Clinic.
A holiday season of eating healthy and avoiding weight gain can be tough to navigate. I wrote this first blog to help you understand how to avoid holiday weight gain. Watch for my next blog on holiday parties and how to eat healthy.
Holidays and weight gain
Over the past 30 years, Americans in general have gained weight. Two groundbreaking studies from 2000 affirmed the phenomenon of holiday weight gain:
- Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging discovered that 51% of annual weight gain occurs during the holiday season.
- A National Institutes of Health study also showed that holiday weight gain is usually not lost during the spring or summer months
The best strategy is to avoid gaining weight in the first place. Are you really hungry? Or are you just craving what is before you? Be conscious and determine whether or not you have real, physical hunger. Avoid eating for the sake of eating.
How to stay healthy this holiday season:
Eat three meals. Becoming overly hungry just sets you up for overeating. Make time for a light breakfast and lunch that includes fiber, vegetables, fruit, and protein to keep your hunger at bay. The strategy helps avoid over-consuming food later in the day.
- Eat your daily requirements of healthy foods before indulging in extras. If you haven't had at least 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables today, pass up the bowl of chips and go for crudités or blend up a smoothie.
- Veg out; don't pig out. Go for the whole palette of colors found in produce to get the full range of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and a good dose of fiber. Have at least 1 serving of green leafy vegetables and 1 in the red, yellow, and orange group each day, and a good source of Vitamin C fruit.
- Cook low-fat at home. Roast instead of frying; add broth instead of fat Make vegetarian legume-based entrees at least once a week.
- Monitor your food intake with a food journal. Alternatively, have a friend help keep you on track.
- Skip stocking-up on seasonal treats. They'll be everywhere you turn, so keep them out of the house.
References: (Nutr Rev 2000;58(12):378-9). (N Eng J Med 2000;342(12):861-7).
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