Holiday Challenge Week 4

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

Cookies. Candy canes. Pie. Hot chocolate. It seems that everywhere you turn during the holidays, temptation is at your fingertips. This time of year, more than any other, our resolve to eat smart can waver. Fortunately, holiday foods don’t have to undermine your goals. A few tricks can help you survive the season’s most tempting treats without expanding your waistline.

Decide if you are hungry or if you just feel like eating. We often eat for reasons other than hunger – for example, because of boredom, stress or because other people are eating nearby. Use the hunger-fullness scale on www.MyEatSmartMoveMore.com to see if you are hungry or just wanting to eat.

Don’t skip meals. When you skip meals in preparation for a party or celebration it puts you on the fast track to overeating. Instead, stick to your regular meal and snack schedule to avoid feeling so hungry you want to eat everything in sight. Drink lots of water. Dehydration can feel like hunger. Remember to sip water throughout the day to keep your body running well.

Keep healthy snacks in your purse or in your desk at work. Having healthy options on hand for when the snack craving hits will help you honor your hunger without going overboard. If you crave sweet snacks, try fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt, a small handful of dried fruit and nut trail mix or a healthy granola bar. If you crave salty snacks, try a few whole-grain crackers with an ounce of low fat cheese or a small spoonful of peanut butter with carrot sticks.

Indulge in small amounts of the foods you love. When you deprive yourself of the foods you really crave, you are more likely to go overboard down the road. Go ahead and enjoy the foods you love, but do so in moderation – one cookie instead of two, a bite or two of cheesecake instead of a giant slice. Savor each bite and enjoy every moment.

Brush your teeth after eating. Once you are done with a meal, brush your teeth to keep your mouth feeling clean. That minty-fresh toothpaste taste doesn’t mix well with other flavors. You won’t want to spoil your fresh breath by eating right away.

For more information or to join the Eat Smart, Move More…Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge, visit www.MyEatSmartMoveMore.com.

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences