Did you know some Americans may gain up to six pounds this holiday season?
Herbalife Nutrition recently commissioned a survey* of 2,000 Americans to find out about the dietary challenges they experience during the holiday season. Not surprisingly, many who reported weight gain contributed it to the amount of sweets they consume over the holidays. More than half of the respondents reported cookies (54%) and pies or cakes (53%) to be the biggest food temptation, more so than holiday meals (44%). In fact, 44% of respondents reported that they tend to eat more than one dessert during a holiday meal.
While it’s probably not realistic to avoid all sweets during the holidays, there are some things you can do to help you keep your intake reasonable. One key to minimizing holiday weight gain overall is to make sure that you eat balanced meals and snacks throughout the day and include a source of protein each time. Protein can help you to feel fuller, so you’ll eat less, which may help prevent over-indulging on those tempting treats.
Here are some tips to help you stay on track over the holidays:
Start the Day with a High Protein Breakfast
Aim for 15-20 grams of protein at breakfast. Instead of cereal, have eggs, yogurt or cottage cheese or try a protein shake. Studies have shown that a high protein breakfast not only helps you stay full until lunch but may even curb your intake and unhealthy snacking over the course of the day.
Don’t Go to a Holiday Party Hungry
Too many people skip meals before holiday events, but they often end up overindulging at meals and dessert because they’re overly hungry or think they’ve “earned it”. Have a substantial, protein-rich snack prior to your event— such as some Greek yogurt with fruit or some hummus and vegetables – before you walk out the door.
Lighten Up On Dessert
There are likely certain desserts that you associate with the holidays – the ones that you don’t eat any other time of the year. Save some calories so that you can enjoy a small serving but skip the ‘everyday’ sweets that really aren’t that special. And try being satisfied with just a couple of bites. Studies show that the first few bites really are the best, and that pleasure diminishes with each extra bite.
Written by Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Christina Branco
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Enjoy the holidays with healthy treats!