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Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating

Planning ahead can help keep eating under control, expert says

SUNDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The holiday season means you'll be faced with a seemingly endless buffet of food temptation. While some people simply give in and eat too much, others deny themselves any holiday treats.

But there are ways to navigate between overindulgence and deprivation, according to Julie Redfern, manager of Nutrition Consult Services at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She offers the following advice:

  • Eat a light snack before you go to a holiday party. That will prevent you from arriving hungry and overeating or gobbling down foods high in calories and saturated fat.
  • When you're invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy food dish.
  • Research how you can use healthy ingredients in your favorite holiday recipes. For example, using 1 percent milk instead of whole milk and cream in a traditional eggnog recipe can save almost 200 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving.
  • Wear tight clothes, such as form-fitting slacks, to holiday events. People who wear loose clothing tend to overeat without realizing it.
  • Staying away from the food table at gatherings will help you resist the urge to eat.
  • Carrying a clutch or handbag will keep your hands busy and reduce the likelihood that you'll reach for every treat that passes your way.
  • Use a small plate or no plate. You'll eat less if you have to walk back and forth to get food.
  • Keep portion control in mind. A dinner plate should be half vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter carbs. Avoid going back for seconds and thirds.
  • You can have dessert, but keep the portions small.
  • Beware of high-calorie holiday drinks such as eggnog and apple cider. Have only a small cup.
  • Plan to go for a family walk after your main holiday meal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers healthy holidays tips.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, Nov. 18, 2009

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