Managing your holiday eating

Holidays are a time to relax and rejuvenate energy levels. All too often, however, the holidays also become a time for weight gain. Here are some tips to help prevent 'waisted' calories this holiday season.

Portion Control
• Take small portions of your favorite foods, then savour and enjoy them.
• Be choosy! If you don't love it, leave it. Most people will eat all the food in front of them, so try and avoid over-filling your plate.
• A good trick for portion control is to not let any foods touch each other on your plate.

Eat Before the Party

Not eating all day to save up for the feast is a sure way to overeat. Eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch. Snack in the morning and afternoon on vegetables and fruit such as carrot sticks with dip and mandarin oranges. This way you'll arrive at the party, or the dinner table, pleasantly hungry but not starving.

Limit Alcohol

Packing a whopping seven calories per gram, alcohol is an easy way to increase calorie intake without even feeling full. Also, try alternating alcoholic drinks with a glass of water. Drink lower calorie festive beverages like wine spritzers and Bloody Marys, or mix spirits with water or diet pop.

Drink Up

Staying hydrated helps you to not overeat. Health Canada recommends nine cups (2.25 L) of fluid daily for women and 13 cups (3.25 L) of fluid per day for men. Focus on water for best weight management.

Get Active

Enjoy winter activities like skating, tobogganing and skiing. Go for a walk with family and friends. Enjoy some indoor activities such as swimming, badminton, racquetball or shooting hoops at a community gym. Make the holidays an active time to visit and have fun with loved ones.

Diane Britton is the University of Lethbridge's on-campus registered dietitian