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Practical Tips for Calorie-Conscious Holiday Eating

The end-of-the-year holiday season can often be the one time of the year that we get to wind down and celebrate the end of a fruitful year, and the beginning of an exciting new one full of potential. Food is often front and center, whether you are celebrating the holidays at home or at a vacation destination. You’re going to get some amazing advice on how to manage your calorie intake. Here are some practical tips that may help with that:

  1. Portion Control: Advice:- Be mindful of portion sizes when indulging in holiday treats. Enjoy smaller servings of your favorite dishes and desserts to satisfy your cravings without overdoing it on calories. Practical Tip:- Use a smaller plate to eat in. Use a designated spoon to serve yourself, such as a tablespoon (or at least something smaller than the serving spoon used to serve each dish).

  2. Choose Wisely: Advice:- When faced with a spread of holiday foods, opt for healthier options whenever possible. Fill your plate with lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit high-calorie, high-fat choices. Practical tip:- Remember the tablespoon from the above tip,  use it to serve yourself – any non-creamy or not-heavily dressed salads or cooked vegetables; protein – more physical protein than gravy (pieces of meats or chunks of vegetarian protein or pulses and/or dals); one piece of bread or naan or tortilla/ roti or any other form of carb food; one piece of dessert.

  3. Stay Active: Advice:- Incorporate physical activity into your holiday routine. Take a walk after a big meal, join in on active holiday traditions, or schedule regular workouts to help offset any extra calories consumed. Practical Tip:- Go mall walking- leave your wallet at home and go window shopping after a heavy meal. Play a game of basketball or badminton or even a round of golf at the beginning of the day. End your day with a family game of Twister or Pictionary or dumb charades or even an impromptu dance party.

  4. Mindful Eating: Advice:- Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly, savor each bite, and stop when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed. Practical Advice:- Exercise in the morning. Consider this as a warmup for the main event - FOOD. Remember the tablespoon from points 1 & 2?  Use it. To demystify mindfulness it’s easier to have 1 tablespoon of each food item at the table enough to fill your smaller plate.

  5. Hydration: Advice:- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Practical Tip:- drink 1 glass of plain water 15 minutes before a meal and 1 glass 15 minutes after, this includes snacks.

  6. Be Mindful of Alcohol: Advice:- Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and often lead to mindless snacking. Limit your intake and opt for lighter options like wine or spritzers. Practical Tip:- drink 1 glass of water after each glass of alcohol.

  7. Practice Self-Compassion: Advice:- Remember that the holidays are a time to enjoy and celebrate. If you do indulge in a treat or two, don't be too hard on yourself. It's okay to savor special foods in moderation. Practical Tip:- Plan your vacation one day at a time. Make exercise (any form right for you) non-negotiable. Eat like there IS a tomorrow. And stop guilt-tripping yourself!

Now, Let’s go celebrate!

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