Healthy holiday eating in Eagle County
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL ” As the holiday season approaches, many of us wonder how we will get through this year’s “eating” season without expanding our waistlines. Here are some tips from registered dietitians with the Vail Valley Medical Center in Vail.
Don’t “save up” calories
Plan on splurging at the buffet table at your holiday party and think you will “save” calories by skipping lunch? Think again. Eating balanced meals at regular times throughout the day helps control moods and cravings and results in less total calorie intake over the course of the day.
Use smaller plates
According to Dr. Brian Wansnick, author of Mindless Eating, the average American can lose an average of 1.8 pounds a month simply by switching to a 10-inch dinner plate instead of a 12-inch plate. And don’t forget: Your plate should be filled with vegetables.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Stick to a food budget
Make a food budget and spend your calories only on treats you really want. If you love holiday treats like gingerbread, it’s perfectly OK to have some. But if you find yourself eating chocolate chip cookie after cookie just because they are there, ask yourself whether or not you really want to spend your calories on food you like but don’t love (and is available year-round).
Learn to identify emotional hunger
The holidays can be stressful and stress can lead to eating for reasons other than for true physiological hunger. Signs of emotional hunger include: hunger than comes on suddenly (physical hunger grows gradually), craving a specific food and feeling that only that food will satisfy your hunger (when you are truly hungry you are open to all types of food), hunger that feels urgent, eating past the point of feeling full and feeling guilty after eating.
Say “no” to food pushers
We all know them: people who insist you try every holiday treat they offer and act personally offended when you refuse, until you finally cave in. The best way to avoid this dietary danger is to just say “no.” Politely refuse the treat; you don’t have to offer any explanation. If you cannot escape without accepting the treat, it’s OK to go into another room and dump it. Just because it’s on your plate, doesn’t mean it has to go in your mouth.
Watch liquid calories
Sure, eggnog tastes great. It also contains about 350 calories and 20 grams of fat (most of it saturated) per cup, and that doesn’t even factor in your spirit of choice. So have one, and switch to a less calorie-dense beverage like club soda with lemon or lime (0 calories) or a glass of white wine (about 100 calories per glass).
Keep treats out of sight
Yes, a bowl of green and red candies on your desk or countertop looks festive, but studies have shown the more food you see, the more you eat. Keep treats covered and out of sight.
Kristin Schiller is a registered dietitian with the Vail Valley Medical Center.