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Surviving the holidays: Tips from our dietitians you won’t want to miss

Here we go … turkeys, gratitude, gifts, cookies, cheese and cocktails. In the next couple of days, the holiday season will be in full swing and the hustle, bustle and fun — not to mention the challenging time for our waistlines — will last until the New Year.

Surviving the season takes planning. We’re here to help!

Beacon’s registered dietitians who work at Memorial Hospital offer up their personal, tried-and-true holiday nutrition tips to avoid unwanted weight gain and post-holiday regret.

  1. Burn more calories (Gail Weismann)

Do simple things to exert more energy, such as parking farther away at the mall, standing while you wrap gifts, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Aim for 30 minutes of activity a day and get as many “extra” steps that you can.

  1. Move away from the table (Nancy Taghon)

Don’t stand and socialize right by the food table at a party or open house. You are less likely to nibble if you have to make an effort to get to food. Additionally, after the meal is over remove food from the table or relocate to another area.

  1. Give it some time (Amanda Gordillo)

It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. Resist the temptation for seconds until this time has passed. Usually, after 20 minutes, you start to get full and don’t desire extra servings.

  1. Just a taste (Alyse Wittman)

Take small portions of foods to fill your plate. You can taste a variety of flavors and textures without getting stuffed and still feel satisfied.

  1. Don’t drink your calories (Cecily Maes)

Enjoy a glass or two of thin alcoholic beverages — if that’s your thing, such as wine, club soda cocktails or light beer. The thicker the beverage is (think egg nog, daiquiri) the more likely it is to have added cream, sugar and calories. Remember to alternate with water between beverages.

  1. Start packing (Renee Mischler)

Have a healthy snack before you go to a party so that you won’t be starving upon your arrival. Carry nuts or almonds in your bag to stave off hunger pains. A good rule of thumb is not to go to the grocery store or a party hungry.

  1. Trick your brain (Carla McMaster – dietetic intern)

Use a small plate in the buffet line so that less foods will fit on it. Put your fork down between bites to give your food more time to digest. Eat with your non-dominant hand.

  1. Modify your recipes (Martha Magliola)

Use fresh ingredients in recipes instead of canned or processed ones. For example, if making green bean casserole use fresh green beans instead of canned green beans. Use light yogurt instead of sour cream in dips.

  1. Celebrate the holiDAY (Kaitlin Wiley)

Don’t get caught in the “all or nothing” mindset. Just because you might overindulge one day, don’t let it spiral into a “bad” week or month. Remember, if you get a flat tire it doesn’t mean you should slash the other 3! Instead celebrate the holiDAY and enjoy the foods you like to eat. Don’t let guilt be the Grinch and turn your holiday into a nightmare before the New Year!