"The holidays are a time to get together with friends and family, and often these gatherings revolve around food," says Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition communication and education at Atkins Nutritionals. Too true, and who can say no to turkey, stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes topped with gravy? Especially when the host is eagle-eyeing everyone's actions around the dinner table. "Add to that fact that we're all time-starved with shopping and party preparation and it's easy to see how we end the year with a few extra pounds."
Heimowitz has 20-plus years of experience as a nutritionist, which includes the time she spent with the celebrated Dr Atkins as director of nutrition at the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine. From her expertise, she has learned that holiday weight gain doesn't have to be the norm. Here are her five top strategies to take a healthier approach to the Christmas festivities without feeling deprived of all the fun.
Have a snack before going to Christmas parties to help stabilize blood sugar. You can also have a small low carb meal beforehand, such as an Asian Beef Salad or a serving of Baked Chicken with Artichokes.
Beautiful bowls of festively colored candy are too tempting to pass by without grabbing a handful, and another handful, and another. Fill the dishes with festive ornaments instead; they make pretty Christmas décor without adding calories to your holiday season.
Avoid opening holiday food gifts, such as chocolates or gift baskets filled with refined carbohydrates – all those sweets, crackers and biscuits aren't good for the waistline. Donate
the food to a shelter or bring it to a holiday party to avoid temptation.
Eggnog, dessert cocktails, and bottomless glasses or wine or spirits can pile on the pounds. Choose to unwind at the end of a harried day with a cup of soothing peppermint tea by the fire. At parties, limit your alcohol to one or two glasses of wine, and steer clear of the high calorie, high carbohydrate libations.
It's not easy to fit in regular workouts during this hectic time of year, but if you can fuse seasonal celebrations with getting your body in motion, that's a big step in the right direction to preventing the holiday bulge. Heimowitz recommends seasonally-appropriate activities that will let you enjoy the most wonderful time of the year and simultaneously get some exercise.
Here are a few physical activities that will keep you celebrating the Christmas spirit:
For more information and healthy holiday recipes, visit www.Atkins.com.
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