By 1st Lt. Jessica Teachout, Tripler Army Medical Center Nutrition Care DivisionNovember 20, 2017
HONOLULU (November 17, 2017) - The holiday season is upon us. This time of year is a time for food, friends, family and enjoyment. It is also the time of year where we may find ourselves packing on a few extra pounds.
In fact, a full Thanksgiving meal can be an upwards of 3,000 calories, which is almost equal to one pound of fat. But cultural celebrations are not the ideal time to track calories. This feat can be incredibly unrealistic, so how can we mitigate extra pounds during the holiday season?
Eat a balanced breakfast and drink plenty of water during the day. This will help keep you satisfied so that you are less likely to overeat when it is time for the big meal - with the added benefit of hydration.
Celebrate with activities. Enjoy food and company and drinks responsibly, but also enjoy active time with loved ones. Take some time for a holiday hike, a 5k turkey trot, family football games or post-feast walks. Physical activities can be a great bonding experience while also burning some extra calories and keeping us active, which has a variety of health benefits on its own.
Use leftovers as a meal prep. Indulge during your festivities, but try and stick to a normal routine once the day is over. Using Thanksgiving leftovers as meal preparation is a great way to save money, reduce waste and enjoy the taste of the holidays, even after they are gone.
Pick and choose your leftovers to resemble USDA's MyPlate. That is, make a quarter of your plate protein, such as turkey or chicken; a quarter carbohydrates, such as rice, potatoes, beans or stuffing; and half of your plate non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli or carrots.
Eating like this on a regular basis - not just around the holidays - allows you to maintain a balanced diet and to get all of the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and energized.
Use desserts moderately. Even after the celebration is over, the desserts usually stick around for several days. Rather than eating pie every night to avoid being wasteful, make a moderate amount to enjoy on the holiday itself without leftovers.
If you do have leftovers, bring them to work, give them to friends, donate them or freeze them for celebrations down the road. If you are a person that will eat holiday desserts if they are in the house, eliminate the temptation by sharing the wealth. An added benefit is that next time the pie does come out, it will taste that much sweeter.
Enjoy yourself. Life is all about balance and indulging in moderation. The holidays are a time to celebrate, to be thankful and to share with loved ones. Living a balanced lifestyle will allow you to enjoy yourself guilt free and for years to come. Eat a nutritious and colorful diet, move your body, stretch and be thankful.