The holidays are always a difficult time to keep up healthy habits. Schedules are busy, junk food abounds, we stop getting outside as much as the weather cools. How do you fight the holiday and winter weight gain? How do you stay in shape? Maintaining healthy eating habits and regular exercise are vital to keeping our immune systems tuned for the onslaught of winter viruses. Below, we would like to outline some ideas, offer a few recipes and give some tips for keeping the weight off through the winter. If you have ideas, recipes or other thoughts on this topic, hit the "contact us" button and share those with us. You can help us keep our members healthy!
1. Skip the egg nog, grab the water! We can do a lot of damage with some of the things we drink. Things like soda, sweet tea, chocolate or other flavored milk, juices and alcoholic beverages come loaded with calories and sugar. Other drinks like diet soda contain preservatives or additives that are not good for our bodies and can still cause weight gain and problems with our sugar metabolism. JUST DRINK WATER! When patients of mine have given up just soda or sweet tea alone, I have seen an average of six to twelve pounds of weight loss in the first month. Just that one change can make a huge difference. If water just won't do, try the orange cranberry cider recipe below.
2. I still can't believe I'm saying this, but back off the red meats and pork! You don't need it everyday, and you're probably better without it at all (I can hear the outcries!). Red meats and pork are increasingly linked to heart disease and cancer risk. Eating leaner meats like fish, chicken and turkey (not fried) will have benefits for heart health and will help cut out fats in the diet and lead to weight loss.
3. Home for the Holidays! Try eating more at home. Eating out, whether fast food or fine dining, adds bad fats, salt, and higher carbohydrates. Plan some meals at home at the beginning of the week and try to use fresh, whole foods for ingredients. Eating out should be limited to twice a week. Gathering around the table at home also strengthens family relationships. Spend time with the ones you love.
4. Put some space between you and the fruitcake! I don't mean that strange relative you haven't seen in two years who shows up at a family gathering. Keep serving dishes off the table and in the kitchen. Fill your plate with reasonable portions then have a seat. Make it where you have to physically get up and move across a room to get seconds.
5. Move! Be intentional about getting outside and being active. Instead of slouching down on the couch and falling asleep to the football game, get the family up and out on a walk. Keep it brisk. For the more ambitious, get out and play a game of touch football in the yard, racquetball, or go for a jog. Make an active lifestyle part of your family legacy and tradition.
Orange Cranberry Cider
Light cranberry juice (50% less sugar)
Light orange juice (50% less sugar)
Mix juices half and half in a sauce pan, warm with cinnamon sticks to desired temperature and taste. Enjoy!
Mel's Stuffed Chicken
Laughing Cow light swiss cheese spread
Cheddar cheese, grated
Miracle Whip Light
Italian bread crumbs
Pound chicken out flat. Spread cheese spread on one side of chicken, sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Fold chicken and place toothpicks through the breast edges to keep it together. Roll stuffed chicken breast in light miracle whip then roll in bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and eat!
Have a blessed Christmas season!