Between all the cocktails and the endless desserts, it can be a struggle to keep the scale steady during festive seasons. But that doesn’t mean weight gain is inevitable. Follow this foolproof guide to overcome food cravings, one delicious bite a time:
1.Go big at breakfast
Looming deadlines may be pushing healthy eating lower on your priority list, but a solid morning meal is more important now than ever, says Andrea Giancoli, R.D., a nutrition policy consultant and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Options with lots of protein and fiber, like oatmeal topped with nuts and fresh fruits, will help set you up for a day of good choices. Research show that picks like this not only jump start your metabolism, they also keep you full enough to turn down any late-morning goodies that come your way.
Trays of chocolate-covered cherries, client gift baskets, and the bottomless candy jar at the reception desk…something’s gotta give. Check out all the options and settle on just one indulgence a day, suggest Giancoli. Keep in mind that you’ll be seeing plenty more scrumptious treats before the month is over, so you don’t need to worry that this is a now-or-never opportunity.
3.Walk it off
Luckily, shopping keeps you on your toes – and moving, which can help you burn a few calories. Maximize your efforts by parking as far from the store’s entrance as possible and taking the stairs rather than escalators. The average woman expends about 260 calories an hour walking at 5.5 kmph, and every flight of stairs burn another five calories. For extra incentive to resist that glazed doughnut, figure out how much you’ll torch total, says Elisabetta Politi, R.D., nutrition director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina.
4.Delay your drink
Research shows that even one alcoholic beverage lowers your impulse control, so don’t make a beeline to grab a cocktail-wait at least until after you’ve enjoyed a few of the less-sinful appetizers. A little food will slow the absorption of alcohol and help you remain more likely to make healthy decisions. When you do belly up to the bar, avoid liberation made with high-calorie mixers (like fruit juices and tonic), and intersperse each round with a club soda and lime to slow your consumption. Another trick: Keep your glass in your hand and nurse it, even if it’s just sparkling water. It will prevent people from offering to get you another one while they’re refilling their own.
5.Back up to the buffet
Don’t plant yourself right in front of the food when you arrive at the party. Seek out the host and mingle a bit so you have an opportunity to scan the offerings. Once you know what’s available, you’ll be better equipped to determine what’s worth splurging on.
6.Taste it all
Some of these foods come around only on special occasions, so don’t even try to go cold turkey on your favourites. The key is portion size: Indulge in everything you love-by the tablespoon. As for second helping, avoid a mental struggle by giving yourself permission to have them from the get-go, says Giancoli. Just be sure to take small portions on the first pass-and eat slowly. When your plate is empty, stop and ask yourself whether you really are hungry for more. The answer might surprise you.