As the leafs turn crimson, I am reminded that Thanksgiving and Christmas (not to mention their respective Chinese versions – Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year) is just around the corner.
The holidays are a time to rejoice with family and friends, often with large gatherings and potlucks of succulent home-cooked meals. Although all of this signify fun times, it often comes with an unwelcomed guest – weight gain. Here are some tricks to avoid putting on the extra pounds during holiday get-togethers.
Eat before going to the party
Whether you’re feeling full or hungry, eat a few slices of apples or other veggies to fill you up. Apples contain ascorbic acids and fiber that aid with digestion*, which also helps to makes you feel full. This will prevent food splurging when you arrive at the party.
Talk more, eat less
The snack table is what congregates people together during parties, and it’s okay to get drawn to that. Since your sole purpose of attending the party is to socialize, do just that. Grab a drink, and chat it up with friends and family. Do more talking, and less eating. Distract yourself by starting up conversations with long-time-no-see relatives. You’d be surprised at how “full” you’ll get after having mouthfuls of conversations!
Drink less alcoholic beverages
Every can of beer (aka liquid bread) contains roughly 150 calories, every cup of wine between 110-300 calories*. Hard liquors are even higher in the calorie count at 200-500 calories per glass, equivalent to two scoops of ice cream! I’ve sure as everyone knows this, people tend to indulge in high-calorie foods when drinking alcohol, which adds to the beer belly!
So replace that alcoholic beverage with a cup of sparkling water. If need be, limit your alcohol intake to one cup. Remember, keeping dry means you’ll get home safely!
Eat in moderation
In my family, we gather around the table for self-help meals. If this is the case for you, grab a medium-sized plate and fill it up with the following food group portions:
- 20% carbs such as pasta, rice or bread
- 40% vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, or in my family, bak choy
- 30% protein such as lean turkey, chicken tenders, fajita steak
- 20% fruits such as blueberry, cranberry, or watermelon
Remember, limit yourself to only one plate (and one plate only!)
Avoid the desserts
There no easy way to say this – avoid the dessert section like the plague. It’s going to be really tempting with the table full of mouth-watering holiday pies, crème brulee, ice cream cakes…but get a grip of yourself. Do the math before indulging in a slice or two of that calorie bomb, and you’ll be thanking yourself when you weight in the next morning.
During the meal, eat and chew your food sloooowly. The first part of digestion starts with your mouth. Taking smaller bites and chewing slowly allows the food to travel down the digestive track into your stomach and back up to the brain to signal that you are full. It also tricks your brain into thinking that you’ve eaten more than you have. That’s why a lot of skinny people are slow eaters.
Have a buddy system
Tag-team with a friend or family member who can keep a close watch on you. If let free on our own volition, our tendency is to eat as much as possible, because it tastes good and it’s for free. Having someone by your side means an extra pair of eyes to hawk over indulgence.
* Do Apples Have Acid in Them? http://www.livestrong.com/article/534730-do-apples-have-acid-in-them/
**There are Calories in Wine (eek!) http://winefolly.com