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Beyond Trim: Enjoy the holidays while maintaining weight

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 1:53 p.m. CST

The holiday season is always an interesting time for a dietitian. I am often asked, “Is it better to try to lose weight during this season, maintain my weight, or eat everything and worry about it Jan. 1?”

Weight maintenance is a lofty goal because with all the great holiday treats out there, it can be difficult to not gain weight. However, did you know the average person gains only 1 to 2 pounds over the holiday season? That really is not too bad, except when the 1 to 2 pounds stays and invites friends. This leads to dreaded weight accumulation over the years.

Starting today, make it a plan to enjoy the holiday season while still maintaining your weight. Here are some ways to boost nutrient intake, reduce fat and sugar, and burn off extra calories:

– Enjoy your food, just eat less.

– Keep tempting food out of the house; enjoy it at special occasions.

– Continue to drink plenty of water. Carry water with you at all times.

– Eat slower and use smaller plates.

– Avoid socializing near the food table to avoid mindless “picking.”

– Engage in daily, moderate physical activity. Two 15-minute walks each day can make a difference by burning about 100 calories. This not only burns calories, but reduces stress and brightens your mood.

– Keep a food record. Nothing makes you more aware of what you are doing than writing it down. The old-fashioned way with a pen and paper works great, or check out www.myfitnesspal.com which is a great website to help you keep track of your food intake.

– Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to consume fewer calories during the day. After breakfast, eat small, frequent meals, about every 3 to 4 hours.

– Guarantee a healthy choice for yourself by bringing a dish that is part of your healthy eating plan; a vegetable tray, low-fat spinach dip or a lighter dessert.

Italian Tomato and Rice Soup

Makes 6 side-dish servings

1 (12-ounce) jar chunky salsa

1 cup reduced-sodium tomato juice

1/3 cup quick-cooking brown rice

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed

½ teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups water

1 (16-ounce) package loosely packed frozen zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, lima beans, and Italian beans

1/3 cup finely shredded grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine the salsa, tomato juice, brown rice, onion, Italian seasoning, bouillon granules, garlic, pepper and 2 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place frozen vegetables until thawed. Stir vegetables into the rice mixture. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender. Top each serving with cheese if desired. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 66 calories, 0 g fat, 438 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein.

– From Recipe.com

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