What to Eat When You’re Dieting During the Holidays

Looking to keep up with your weight loss goals while still enjoying yourself, along with some good food, at all of the holiday parties this December? Whether you’re calorie counting, limiting carbs, or doing some other type of restrictive eating plan, it’s important approach Christmas-time consumption with dietary guidelines and limits that you set for yourself.

Below find tips, hint and recommendations for staying on track with your diet during the holidays.

Always start with fresh veggies.

This is a caveat of healthy eating that has stood the test of time no matter what the weight loss experts are preaching of late. The nuances of this may change depending on the weight loss program or diet you’re currently adhering to– but the details may not matter so much in the grand scheme of things.

For example, an authority on the ketogenic diet would advise to avoid vegetables that are high in natural sugar, such as carrots, corn, orange squash and sweet potatoes, because these can contribute to glucose overage and the idea of this diet is to run your body on fat, not sugar.

The Weight Watcher program waffles on whether or not vegetables count as a “point” toward your overall calorie intake for the day. (And by the time you read this, WW may not even be using a points system). So the rule to keep in mind is that veggies are packed with nutrition, keep us regular, and generally help with weight loss by delivering healthy fiber and needed vitamins and minerals to our bodies.

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Watch your fat intake (unless you’re on a low-carb eating plan). The surefire way to rapidly gain back all of the weight you lost before the holiday season is to gorge on high-fat foods. You don’t have to avoid fat entirely but you should be aware that most people who eat a “typical” American diet, especially those who would classify themselves as having a weight problem, generally consume too much saturated fat.

In addition to causing weight gain, an excess of unhealthy fat in the daily diet cause cardio vascular problems by clogging the arteries that keep blood flowing to and from the heart. Consider that a few slices of cheese, paired with fresh veggie snacks or 4 whole-grain crackers should suffice for a serving of fat for someone who is trying to curb weight gain during the holidays.

Better choices for fat intake include the type of omega-3 fats that come from salmon, tuna and other deep-sea fish; olive oil, avocado, and plenty of fruits and nuts.

For saturated fat consumption, if you’d like to enjoy a small serving of bacon, cheese, or butter, the healthier option is to choose products that come from grass-fed animals. While this is less likely to be in your control when attending other people’s holiday parties, you can certainly shop for your own dietary needs when hosting at your own home.

Don’t deny yourself; just limit.

One of the worst ways to approach dieting and healthy eating is by completely depriving yourself of any type of treats or food-based indulgence. The likelihood that you will suddenly and heavily succumb to sugar or fat cravings at some point is higher when approaching healthy eating in an all-or-nothing manner such as this.

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For example, you might be doing very well avoiding sugar entirely, and you may experience the rapid weight loss that comes with a very low-carb lifestyle. But then, quite suddenly, a stressful event, or even just being “too busy” and encountering tempting goodies at the wrong time might trigger you to binge on sweets. Or, perhaps going overboard with holiday imbibing could have a snowball effect, and now you’re hitting the dessert table with wild abandon to make up for lost time and maybe even rebel against the frustration of avoidance.

It might be a better practice, especially at this temptation-laden time of year, to pick and choose the very favorite treats that you might desire, and then treat yourself to a modest portion. It could be a few spoonfuls of a rich ice cream dessert, or a small serving of your favorite fruit pie. Pies generally do contain added table sugar, unless the chef made one specifically without it, or if the label says sugar-free. But a pie that’s prepared with fresh fruit makes a slightly healthier choice than cookies which are just butter, sugar and flour piling up in your gut.

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