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15/12/2011 18:25:43
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It’s that most wonderful time of the year! As December unfolds the stores get busier, the days are short and winter sets in. It must mean Christmas is just around the corner! With that, many of us assume so is a weight gain of at least ten pounds. I assure you, this year doesn’t have to be that way.

Temptation is everywhere; your local coffee shop features comforting holiday drinks, the grocery stores showcase an array of boxed chocolates and desserts, and in the workplace you find yourself surrounded by traditional holiday baking.

One comforting holiday drink followed by a gingerbread cookie and a couple of holiday truffles and you may find yourself at half your entire day’s calorie allowance, even though it’s not even close to lunchtime yet. So you ask; how do I stay on track?

At your holiday work functions, cocktails start early in the evening and are followed by a feast dinner accompanied by more drinks and rich desserts, no problem. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay on track:

Start by planning ahead of time and ensure you get some extra exercise on the day of the party; an hour of medium to intense workout can give you a calorie burn of anywhere from 200 to 700 calories! Planning on shopping for that special outfit? Park furthest away from the mall and window shop a half an hour longer. Never go to your party when feeling hungry; a light snack such as a spinach salad with nuts and olive oil or carrots with hummus will ensure you arrive at your function without feeling so hungry that you will attack every single appetizer that comes your way.

Buffet-style dinner does not mean you need to eat yourself to discomfort, it actually gives you choices and lets you be in control. Start by filling half your plate with salad and vegetables, then move on to the proteins and starches. In choosing a protein, select a healthier choice such as fish, turkey, or chicken before pork or beef. If you are in the mood for pasta, look for dishes with oil or tomato sauce before a cheese or cream sauce and if possible, opt for whole wheat or rice noodles. For dessert, choose one that appeals to you and share it with a friend or your significant other.

Going to a family member’s house for Christmas dinner? Take a little time and plan ahead; offer to bring your favourite salad or vegetable, which will ensure there will be at least one healthy meal option.

Digestion starts in the mouth, remember to chew your food! Chew until the food in your mouth becomes a paste; this will ensure better digestion and help prevent you from overeating. Listen to your body cues; when you breathe deeply between bites and feel the need to reposition yourself, it may be your body’s way to tell you’ve eaten enough and it’s time to stop.

Alcoholic beverages also count towards one’s daily caloric intake. It’s good practice to drink at least one cup of water between other beverages. Not only will it save you calories but it will also help you stay hydrated.

Lastly, enjoy yourself! Cherish the spirit of the holidays and take time to be with your loved ones. Treat yourself and your body with respect but make sure to allow yourself your favourite dish or meal without the feeling of guilt. Remember, moderation is the key!

Happy Holidays!

Yours in Nutrition,
Flávia Roberta Martins Young

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