UAB experts offer tips on eating healthy during the holidays - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

UAB experts offer tips on eating healthy during the holidays

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

When it comes to eating during the holidays, it's easy to overindulge in some of your favorite traditional meals and desserts.

UAB clinical dietician Lindsey Lee said research shows that most people gain between one to three pounds each holiday season, and don't usually lose the extra weight after the holidays. While that doesn't sound like a lot, serious health problems can occur when the pounds add up year after year.

To help people avoid putting on those extra pounds, Lee and a few other experts at UAB compiled the following tips on eating healthy while still enjoying holiday foods.

Indulge in foods you only eat during the holidays

"Think about the foods you can't get at other times of year and decide to eat those during dinner versus the foods you can eat all the time," Lee said. "Instead of snacking on store-bought cookies, wait for that slice of Grandma's homemade pie after dinner."

Another example: "Eat a bit of your favorite casserole you only see once a year instead of the heavier sides you can eat year-round," she said.

Eat four or five mini-meals throughout the day

"If you eat throughout the day – and make healthy choices that follow dietary guidelines as you do so – then you won't get to the dinner table starved and completely overdo it with calories consumed," Lee added.

Stay hydrated

"With the holidays comes a bevy of celebratory beverages, and many of them are high in calories," Lee noted. "While it's okay to indulge, create a smart system: Have water before and between every glass of alcohol or other beverage.

"You can also make your own mocktail, Lee advised, by adding flavored, no-sugar drink mixes to sparkling water. "This will taste like a cocktail without all of those extra calories."

Check your weight daily on a scale

To keep your weight in check over the holidays, UAB Wellness coordinator Lauren Whitt suggests stepping on a scale each day.

"Calories consumed must be less than calories burned to maintain or lose weight," she said. "If you monitor your weight, you will know if you should skip seconds at dinner or that holiday party you're headed to."

Go for a walk

Whitt said going for an extra walk or doing another form of exercise can help keep the pounds off and also keep stress at bay.

"Exercise also boosts your mood and can help take the edge off of holiday stress, so kick those holiday blues and extra pounds with a brisk neighborhood walk to burn calories and raise your endorphins," Whitt encouraged.

Stay calm and relax

Whitt also emphasized the importance of staying stress-free during the holidays.

"The holiday season to-do lists can leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious, so balance your needs, relax and rejuvenate yourself to keep a clear state of mind," Whitt said. "This will help you be wise in choosing how much and how often you indulge."

Focus on family and friends, not food

Lee said another important thing to keep in mind is that it's not the food that matters, but rather the friends and family you eat it with.

"We get caught up on shopping, cakes and candies," Lee said. "Focus more on the actual holiday and less on what you're going to eat, and you're less likely to overindulge."

See the full story from UAB here: http://www.uab.edu/news/news-you-can-use/holidays-2012/tis-the-season-to-be-healthy--tips-for-eating-well-this-holiday

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