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Karen Ridings

Keeping holiday calories under control

Tis' the season to enjoy holiday foods! From Thanksgiving through January, culinary delights abound. Keeping holiday calories under control and weight gain to a minimum is possible, but requires some planning.

First, decide what holiday meals and/or parties are the most important to enjoy. Then use the technique of "calorie banking" to get ready for them. Here is how it can work. For 3 to 4 days before the eating event, cut back on your daily calories. These calories will be saved for the "party" meal. How many calories you will need for the event will depend upon the types of foods and beverages you plan to consume. To accumulate additional calories, increase the amount of exercise you do for several days prior to the party. For example, if you normally walk 30 minutes per day, try to increase the time to one hour.

On the day of the party, try the following tips:
1) Do not skip breakfast! Eat a low calorie healthy breakfast the day of the party. For example, enjoy a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit. You are less likely to snack on "junk" food during the morning if you have breakfast.
2) At lunch, eat a nice large salad topped with some type of protein and fresh fruit.
3) If you get hungry during the day, drink water or"0" calorie beverages and eat fresh fruit in between meals.
4) Just before leaving for the party eat a small healthy snack and drink a large glass of water. This may help you overeat.
5) At the party, select the foods you love, but start with small portions and eat slowly to enjoy the flavor. Stop when you start to feel "full".
6) Use vegetables and fruit as "fillers" if possible.
7) Limit your consumption of high calorie beverages, this includes alcohol.
Enjoying but managing holiday calories will help you avoid gaining unwanted pounds to shed in the New Year!

For other holiday eating suggestions, go to:
http://www.extension.org/pages/24796/healthy-holiday-eating

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/hot_topics/2011/pdf/htn%201211.pdf

Frederick County Virginia Cooperative Extension hopes that you and your family have a wonderful and healthy holiday season!



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