You’ll be in shock when you realize Christmas meals can rack up to 7,000 calories over the course of the day. What?!?! Yes, it’s true! Everything adds up, from the moment you take a bite of your breakfast toast to when you have the last morsel of post-dinner dessert. The added calories will ultimately lead to at least two to three pounds of weight gain. If you don’t want to end up feeling bloated and miserable the next day, try making some of these little changes to help you stay below 2,500 calories!
Limit or Avoid Empty Calorie Beverages
Soft drinks, wine, beer, eggnog, cocktails, and punch all provide empty calories with very little nutritional benefits. Instead, try flavored water, sparkling water, fruit infused water, or iced tea. If you must drink alcohol, limit it to one to two small glasses of spirits through the day.
Work Out Before the Big Feast
Try to sneak in some exercise on Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day. Not only does exercise provide you with endorphins (feel good hormones), but it will help you feel less guilty if you later indulge yourself. Not an exercise junkie? No problem, try yoga, take the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood, or play interactive video games with the kids (boxing, tennis, dancing, etc.).
Aim for Smaller Plates
Use the small plates, so it tricks your mind into thinking you’ve filled your plate with delicious food (technically, you have). With smaller plates, you can even go back for seconds and still have fewer calories than if you had used a big plate.
Take Time to Enjoy Your Food
It takes time for the brain to register you are full, usually about 20 minutes after eating. So take time to chew your food, mingle, socialize, and enjoy the company.
Eat Salads and Veggies First
Fiber in vegetables helps us feel full, so eat the salads first and go light on the dressing. Choose steamed and roasted vegetables over fried ones or casserole dishes (e.g. green bean casserole).
Make a Few Low Calories Dishes
Most traditional meals are high in fat, thus high in calories. Bring or make something light, such as fruit salad, a vegetable tray, or 100 calorie appetizers.
Don’t Skip Meals
People tend to skip meals before the big celebration, thinking they are saving room for the big meal. This really isn’t a good idea, because you’ll tend to overeat when the time comes. So eat smaller meal/snacks instead, staying between 200-300 calories per meal. Then you can still enjoy a 1,500-1,900 calorie feast later on.
Go Easy On the Gravy
Gravy made from fat drippings are a big source of calories. Either skip the gravy or drizzle just enough to coat the meat and potatoes.
Think Half for Dessert
Dessert can easily pack up to 400-500 calories per serving. Only take half of what you normally would eat, and go back for a second smaller portion. This will not only give you time to think over your decision, you’ll only have had one serving if you decide to go back for the other half. Always stick to one dessert you know you enjoy most or gives you the most satisfaction. Don’t waste your calories by sampling a few different ones.