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It’s a common topic because it really is a true universal holiday-season struggle: battling the bulge. Those social events rich with snacks, sweets and sips can really have people splurging more often than they normally would when it comes to their diet. Those few weeks of breaking the rules on your portions and choices can have a greater impact on your health when you’re cooped up inside, traveling or just not as locked in to your wellness routine when life gets busy.
It’s not the end of the world if you’re not as dedicated to an exercise program. It’s important to enjoy all of the parties, social commitments and family time that make the holidays the holidays. That time should be yours to spend as you wish. But there are some things you can keep in mind when it comes to your diet to make that transition back into your schedule a little easier in the new year.
Don’t Hold Off for the Main Event
Eating a filling breakfast high in protein and healthy fats, such as eggs, Greek yogurt or avocado toast, can help set a positive foundation for the day. A lot of people who have a delicious dinner on the horizon think that fasting beforehand allows them to eat guilt free. In reality, holding off on eating leads to snacking throughout the day on sugary treats and junk food. Even before you head out to a party, choose a healthy snack so you don’t find yourself standing in front of a tray of cookies on an empty stomach.
Quality Over Quantity
We promise: grandma’s stuffing tastes just as delicious taking up a small portion of real estate on your plate as it would the whole thing. One meal rich in high-calorie, high-sugar foods isn’t going to have a negative impact on your health, but it can if “one meal” actually consists of multiple servings of everything on the table. Enjoy your holiday staples but keep things to a reasonable serving size. A lot of those favorites are packed with butter, sugar, cream and carbs. Prioritize protein alongside your favorite non-negotiable sides (about ½ cup per side).
Thinking and Drinking
Seasonal favorites like eggnog, hot cocoa, punches and ciders can already contain a high number of calories. Add alcohol to the mix and you’re talking about drinks that can set you back hundreds of calories per serving. Alcohol also interferes with proper nutrition, sleep, hydration levels and immune system health. Don’t drink those empty calories just to be polite or follow the crowd at a social event. Sugary cocktails can have an especially negative impact on your metabolism, which means everything else you eat with them can go right into fat storage.
Schedule an appointment with our certified weight management primary care physicians, Dr. Nicole Zucconi, D.O.
Dr. Nicole Zucconi, D.O., is a primary care physician at Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Millville and certified in weight management and nutrition.