Spring Holiday Strategies
Help your diet survive the season of chocolate bunnies and matzo brei
For many of us, holidays turn into a no-holds-barred food frenzy in which we
break any diet rules we may have during the rest of the year. Stuffing
ourselves with dishes we eat but once a year; having lots of rich, fatty foods;
and eating and drinking late into the night … does this sound familiar?
There are several reasons the Easter /Passover season can tempt us to
abandon our healthy eating plans. During this time of year, we typically:
- Indulge in high fat, high calorie foods
- Literally "feast" at our holiday feasts, eating large amounts of
food at one sitting.
- Often eat these extra-large meals in the evening, just a few hours before
we turn in for the night.
- Tend to celebrate by drinking festive beverages, and festive beverages
usually come with a high calorie cost.
- Eat out and at other people's homes more than usual during the holiday
season. In both situations, the cooks are usually not concerned with health and
lower calorie cooking.
So what can you do? Here are some tips to help you have a weight-gain-free
1. Stop eating or drinking at around 7 p.m. This will help cut down
on needless "extras" (extra drinks, desserts, second helpings and extra
2. Ask for a SLIVER. If there is a food, dessert, or appetizer you
really want to try, try a "sliver" of a portion and eat it slowly so
you really enjoy it. You don't need a big piece of something to satisfy your
3. Beware of beverages. You'd be amazed at how quickly calories from
beverages can add up. Drinks often pack a big calorie punch because they're
high in sugar, fat, or alcohol. With all the yummy food around, do you really
want to spend a big portion of your calorie budget on drinks? Choose beverages
with no calories instead. Seltzer water with a twist of lemon or lime tastes
and looks great but contributes zero calories. Other no- or low-calorie drink
options include unsweetened or artificially sweetened iced tea, hot tea, coffee
(decaf or caffeinated), and, of course, diet soft drinks.
4. Relax during the holidays as much as you can. Emotional stress and
anxiety can aggravate bad eating habits (such as compulsive overeating or
5. Whatever you do, keep exercising! Staying on track with your
exercise program is particularly important during the holidays. This will help
reduce stress and keep your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn
just maintaining your body) high.
6. Keep portions to a minimum. As hard as this sounds, try not to eat
those "till you explode" large meals. Passing up seconds will usually
do the trick. I know everything tastes good, so bring leftovers home and enjoy
the whole dinner again -- tomorrow.