No, this is not the title to a romance novel I am working on, it's something much,much lighter. One thing that I look forward to and also causes me stress around the holidays, are all the treats and family dinners. I enjoy them a lot, but don't want to gain 5 pounds in the process. I looked on the Internet the other night on one of my random searches about ways to avoid gaining weight over the holidays. Jenny Craig's holiday commercial with Valerie Bertinelli talks about how to lose 12 pounds over the holidays. Sure, that's all fine and good if you want to eat prepackaged meals the rest of your life. But I want to learn these things using my own recipes and my own food. I don't think it is realistic or any fun at all to go to holiday functions and not eat anything. So, I found a list of easy ways to prevent holiday weight gain that I really liked because it was just practical,good common sense. I found this on About.com
1. Practice Portion Control: All things in moderation. Keep your serving sizes in check at all times and you really can enjoy your favorite holiday treats without gaining weight.
2. Take a Walk: Stay active during the holidays and those extra pounds won't creep up on you. A 30-minute brisk walk outside, if weather permits, or hitting the mall for a workout before it opens, can do wonders for the waistline.
3. Plan Smarter Meals: Try some new ways to make your holiday meals healthier. Small changes can add up to a big difference. It's as simple as adding a serving of steamed vegetables or just choosing fruit instead of desserts that can save hundreds of calories.
4. Cope With Cravings: Food cravings are part of life. If you can't avoid food cravings, the best way to fight back is to be prepared with an alternative activity to eating.
5. Don't Give Up: The worst thing you can do when it comes to weight management during the holidays is to give into the all-or-nothing thinking and keep making bad choices once you've made a mistake.Don't throw in the towel because of a few slip-ups!
I am all about finding substitutions to the real thing to keep me on track during the week, and then when special holiday occasions come up, I don't over do it. In Lisa Lillien's book: Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World, she includes a Holiday Hot List and a Holiday Not List:
Holiday HOT List!
Choose these guilt-free goodies at your next holiday party. . .
Shrimp cocktail (4 jumbo shrimp w/1 Tbs. cocktail sauce=75 calories and 1g fat)
Candy Canes (1 cane=60 calories and 0g fat)
Chicken or Beef skewers (1 skewer=100 calories and 3g fat)
Raw veggies with salsa (1 cup veggies w/1/4 cup salsa=55 calories and 0.5 g fat)
Holiday NOT List!
Eggnog (1 cup=400 calories and 20g fat!)
Hot cocoa (1 cup w/ whipped cream=200 calories and 10g fat!)
Assorted chocolates (3 pieces=200 calories and 11g fat!)
Cookies (1 chocolate chip cookie=210 calories and 13g fat!)
Cake (1 small slice of chocolate cake=340 calories and 14g fat!)
My own personal feeling is that you simply can't go the whole entire holiday season without having your favorite treats, even when watching your calories. What's the fun in that? Most of the time, just use your common sense and you will be fine. For me, I find it works best if there are a bunch of holiday events coming up, to just pick one or two of them to have dessert, and skip it other times. Or, if I really want the dessert, keep the dinner light. Some holiday treats have special traditional meaning to me, so I save those. Why give those up when I don't have to? I'm sure we all have our favorite traditions that include our favorite treats. For example. I used to go every year with my dad to get a Christmas tree at Fred Parker lots, followed by hot chocolate on the way home. It's one of my favorite Christmas memories. So when I go get my tree this year, I will get me some hot chocolate and when I want hot chocolate other times, I stick to the no sugar added kind, it's only 25-50 calories a cup (depending on what kind you get) and it keeps me on track. Anyway, my point is, I like to substitute when I can, and other times, enjoy having the real thing. I think if you have a good plan, you can stay on track, no matter what the plan is. Another good rule to follow especially during this holiday season is to do what my mom's "He-Woman" aerobics instructor said and that is, if you feel you may have indulged a little too much, just do an extra exercise session in the evening to make up for it. I think my favorite survival tip that Lisa Lillien gives in regards to holiday parties is: Wear fitted party clothes. Doing so will help keep you from shamelessly stuffing too much food down your gullet!
Here are a few holiday recipes from Lisa Lillien that I like:
Freakishly Good Frozen Hot Chocolate
58 calories (entire recipe)
One 25-calorie diet hot cocoa mix
1/4 cup light vanilla soymilk
1/2 ounce sugar-free calorie-free syrup (white chocolate or vanilla)
1 tsp. sugar-free chocolate syrup
2 no-calorie sweetener packets
2 tbs. Fat free Reddi Whip
5 to 8 ice cubes or 1 c. crushed ice
Place hot cocoa mix, chocolate syrup, and sweetener in a glass, and stir in 3 ounces of hot water. Next, add soy milk and sugar-free syrup and stir again. Place a mix in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes or until cool. Pour mix into a blender and add ice. Blend on the highest speed for a bout 45 seconds or until well blended. Pour into a tall mug. Finish off with whipped topping. Makes 1 serving
1 cup=98 calories
5 cups light vanilla soy milk
1 small (4-serving) sugar-free fat free vanilla instant pudding mix
6 no-calorie sweetener packets
1 tsp. imitation rum extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow nog to thicken. Makes 5 servings