‘Tis the season of family, friends and lots of food.
While it’s no sin to indulge in some of your favorite treats over the holidays, there are steps you can take to ensure you stay healthy into the new year.
1. Control your portions
Holiday delicacies are just as enjoyable in moderation as they are in excess. You don’t need to devour 10 pieces of chocolate – savor one. Or have just one bite of a gooey desert or rich stuffing. In fact, you will most likely feel better if you take smaller portions of each dish during big holiday meals rather than overloading your plate.
If you are hosting a holiday gathering, offer smaller plates to guests. They can always go back for seconds if they aren’t satisfied.
Watching your portions also applies to alcohol. Try to limit yourself to only a drink or two at holiday events if you choose to drink at all. For hosts, having alternative drink options is important if you choose to serve alcohol.
2. Drink lots of water
Drinking water before a big meal can help curb your appetite and prevent overeating. If you do choose to enjoy an adult beverage, make sure you are also drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
3. Eat slowly
When you eat too fast, you don’t give your stomach enough time to signal that it’s full. Eating slowly allows your body time to digest the foods you are eating before continuing to signal hunger. This helps you avoid second (or even third) trips to the kitchen.
4. Don’t skip exercise
While exercising might be the last thing you want to do around the holidays, it is crucial for staying fit, especially with all of the additional calories you’ll be consuming.
You don’t need a gym membership to stay active. Walk during your lunch hour. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Forget the conference room and hold a walking meeting instead. If you are spending time with family and friends, turn exercise into a bonding activity. Organize a family basketball or kickball tournament or enjoy a family walk after a meal.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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