Healthy Holiday Eating

The snow and holiday seasons bring endless gatherings with family, friends and coworkers. Holiday parties are centered on to things, being together and food.

Between now and New Year’s Eve, just an extra 200 calories more than we need per day could lead to a plumper you in 2011.

It doesn’t take much to gain five to ten pounds. A candy bar on-the-run while shopping, an extra piece of fudge at the party, or camping out next to the buffet line are little things that add to the holiday waistline.

Whether it is the company party, family party, or a night out with friends, there are steps you can take to avoid the traditional holiday weight gain.

First, don’t go to the party or shopping hungry. While you are away from home, hunger and low blood sugar lead to overeating. Eating a snack, or light meal that is high in protein and includes fruits and vegetables will help you avoid the high - fat, high - calorie stops along the way.

Second, eat smaller portions. The holiday buffet offers endless treats and temptations – you shouldn’t eat them all. Smaller portions let you sample a wide variety from the buffet. Make selections of the things you really want to eat. Include grains, fruits and vegetables on your plate; limiting the space for chocolate covered deserts.

Finally, slow down. Your stomach needs time to register that it is full. Take the time to savor more than just the meal. Mingling and conversation will occupy you with other things besides the feast, and give you the necessary time for your body to say "enough."

Healthy holiday eating is all about being responsible. With these suggestions, a dash of discipline and a pinch of planning, you’ll have a great recipe for holiday fun without the bulge of regret.

The holidays are a time for friends, family and feasting; we should enjoy everything about this special time of year.

Louis Kraml, CEO Bingham Memorial Hospital