Avoid Holiday Weight Gain with Expert Tips + Bonus Recipe
With fall already here, it’s difficult not to think of holidays, parties, and the coming Smörgåsbord of food and fun. However, for those who are dieting or just vigilant about calories, this time of year can be particularly challenging.
SignatureMD physicians have provided general weight loss tips and healthy alternatives to ensure that you look your best through the New Year.
Cookies, bars, cakes and pies! Candy and sweet delicious eggnog drinks! During the holidays it’s easy to ignore calories and end up gaining five pounds in a day. A good rule of thumb is to imagine that each piece of candy corn is shaped the same as the insulin spike that will sabotage your weight loss and cause you to slide further to Type-2 Diabetes land.
Simple sugars that are found in candy, baked with love goodies and alcoholic drinks, cause your insulin levels to spike. Extra insulin in your bloodstream causes your body to react by storing fat. Here’s where it gets even trickier: AVOID diet soda – artificial sweeteners trick the body into thinking it’s consuming sugar. Once your body comes down from the spike in insulin, you’ll be hungry again. Stick with teas, sparkling and flat water!
SignatureMD solution: If you’re going to a holiday party eat first and never arrive hungry. Make sure to hydrate yourself throughout the day, drinking lots of water in the afternoon and eating apple slices with natural peanut butter about an hour before leaving for the event. This will slow down the digestive process and make you feel full and satisfied too.
MOVE and win the battle of the bulge
Holidays are often an excuse to abandon the gym. If you’re going to be attending holiday events and want to look your best, don’t let exercise fall by the wayside. Make sure to do aerobic exercise at least three times a week and strength training three times a week minimum too. This will help to lower insulin levels and keep you looking good.
Candy and sweets OKAY to eat
There is evidence to suggest that consuming dark chocolate in moderation can have beneficial health effects. Watch your portions and enjoy.
Halloween candy doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Include raisin boxes, all natural fruit leather and quality dark chocolates as treats for your trick-or-treaters. Read the labels of whatever you find in your child’s goody bag and ditch the suspect stuff.
Be informed, if you’re going to a party where you know healthy food won’t be an option, bring your own. Snacking on a small handful of nuts or bringing your own vegetarian version of dinner will save time and energy. If you throw the party, you control the menu and can serve great party foods that won’t blow up everyone’s diet. Take the reigns yourself and host a holiday party. Serve freshly made appetizers and dips that are heart and waistline healthy and create punch with sparkling water and fresh juices. Healthy recipes can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/holiday-recipes/NU00645
*Bonus* Appetizer Recipe
Dietitian’s tip: You can use any number of herbs or spices to season the potato skins. Try fresh basil, chives, dill, garlic, cayenne pepper, caraway seed, tarragon or thyme.
- 2 medium russet potatoes
- Butter-flavored cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon of herbs – we love fresh rosemary, dried basil and oregano, or garlic seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste if needed
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly and pierce with a fork. Place potatoes in the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. Remove when skins are crisp.
Allow the potatoes to cool for around 30 minutes. When they feel cool to touch, cut in half and remove the potato flesh with a spoon. Make sure to leave around 1/8 potato flesh around the potato skin to ensure it retains its shape. Save the potato flesh to use in another meal.
Spray the potato skins with a butter-flavored cooking spray and season with herbs and pepper. Place the skins in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Nutritional analysis per serving:
Serving size – 2 potato skin halves
Sodium – 12 mg
Total fat – 0 g
Total carbohydrate – 27 g
Saturated fat – 0 g
Dietary fiber – 4 g
Monounsaturated fat – 0 g
Protein – 2 g
Cholesterol – 0 mg