Ask the RD: Avoid Holiday Weight Gain


by Edna Cox Rice, RD, CSG, LDN

There are so many holidays and events during the fall and winter months, I always seem to gain a few pounds. How can I still enjoy the festivities while avoiding the weight gain?

You’re not alone! The average person gains 2-5 pounds during the Fall and Winter seasons. There are so many food-related activities; the season is kicked off with a Labor Day cookout, tailgating, and we continue to eat through Thanksgiving and Christmas right up to the Super Bowl! Food everywhere, combined with busier schedules and less physical activity during the cooler weather equals a fitness challenge for many. As we age our bodies naturally require fewer calories, requiring even more diligence regarding our nutrition and health. Take every opportunity to consider the quality of the calories you choose rather than the quantity.

Trim calories on drinks and foods that you eat all year long so you can enjoy the special treats of season! Tis the season!161861822

Treat Yourself Throughout the Year with these Savvy Tricks to Avoid Weight Gain:

Start Small:

By using a salad plate vs. a dinner plate, it looks like more!

Start Low:

Fill up on low calorie foods – salads and veggies first; then include smaller portions of the higher calorie dishes.

Fill up on Fiber:

Choose foods you can chew, fruit vs. fruit juice; the fruit is more satisfying, higher in fiber, lower in calories and packed with nutrients.

Shape up Soup:

Add extra veggies to a soup with clear broth; avoid creamy soups. Eating a small cup of soup before a meal helps to fill you up and is warming in the winter weather.

Skip the Mayo:

Adding mayo to sandwiches equals 50-150 extra calories. Spreading the mustard adds 0-5 calories!

Rethink your Drink:

Sugary drinks – soda, lemonade, fruit drinks, sweet tea – can add on calories in a few gulps! Want to save 98,550 calories a year?! Drink one less 20-ounce soda a day to cut 270 calories a day.

Make the Switch:

Switch from whole milk to skim or 1% low-fat milk. Save 50-100 calories with each 8-ounce cup.

Rehab your Recipe:

Modify favorite family recipes by substituting lower fat or lower sugar ingredients. Want to cut the fat? Try skim milk vs. whole milk; fat free condensed milk vs. regular; fat free yogurt vs. mayo or sour cream.

Limit Libations:

The calories from alcoholic beverages add up quickly and so do the calories from the mixers! Even during holiday festivities it is recommended that women limit alcoholic beverages to one 6-ounce serving daily and men limit intake to two 6-ounce servings daily. Limit the liquid calories – use calorie-free mixers; make a wine spritzer with calorie-free club soda; or add sugar-free soda (sprite, ginger ale) to wine with a savings of 50-100 calories per 8-ounce serving!