Q: Mr. Pedometer, ‘tis the season for over-eating. Any advice on how we can keep from adding pounds during the holidays, with all the delicious, once-a-year treats tempting us?
A: The simplest strategy is to follow the advice of Julia Child: Enjoy everything, but in moderation.
For more specific advice, here’s what last month’s AARP Bulletin suggested for “Navigating the Holiday Buffet”:
RED: COME TO A COMPLETE STOP
- Pigs in a blanket: High in fat, salt, and carbs.
- Fried cheese balls: High fat and small (easy to overeat).
- Baked brie: Fatty and addictive, plus you have to slather it onto some carb calories.
- Chips: They don’t have any nutritional value.
YELLOW: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
- Cheese & crackers: They are calorically dense and too easy to eat. Plus, they’re not special. Spend your holiday calories on something more festive.
- Once-a-year-favorites: You only eat stuffing, latkes, and eggnog once or twice a year. If you’ve been coveting your cousin’s pecan pie or your neighbor’s roast goose, enjoy in moderation.
- Dessert: If there is an array to choose from, pick out your ONE favorite and allow yourself a reasonably sized portion.
GREEN: GO RIGHT AHEAD
- Crispy, crunchy crudite’s: Your first stop should be the brightly colored vegetable arrangement. Add hummus to slow digestion.
- Pork tenderloin, ham, or turkey: Protein will suppress your appetite because it is slow-digesting and triggers the release of several hormones that make you feel full.
- Shrimp cocktail: Low in fat, high in protein, and a perfect first course for a low-calorie tour of the buffet.
- Swedish meatballs: Another protein-packed option that stands out amid a carbohydrate-heavy table.
- Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus: A great choice to fuel your body while keeping your appetite in check.
According to the article (by Kimberly Rae Miller), “the average American gains more than a pound each holiday season…and half of that weight will still be around come summertime” (based on a study in the New England Journal of Medicine). She wryly notes, “Over a decade, that’s one pant size of holiday cookies added to your belly.”
Especially between Halloween and, say, Groundhogs Day, Mr. Pedometer advises…
EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, BE WELL.