On The Table

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7 Tips to Lose Weight During the Holiday Dessert Season

Even those who choose salty over sweet can still be tempted with holiday desserts. And with pecan pie to your left, chocolate mousse to your right, and cookies far and in between, how could your sweet tooth not be throbbing? But with these seven tips, you can maintain your waistline while relishing on holiday desserts!

7 Tips to Lose Weight During the Holiday Dessert Season

Think of this all-too-common scenario over the holidays:

That pecan pie is to your left. There is chocolate mousse to your right. Oh, and those sugar, gingerbread men, and chocolate chip cookies are spread throughout...

Truly, how could that sweet tooth not be throbbing? And even those who choose salty over sweet can still be tempted with holiday desserts.

By practicing these seven tips, maintain a balanced, holiday diet whilst while relishing on those cherished favorites over the holidays!

7 Tips to Lose Weight During the Holiday Dessert Season

1. Go Small

Big does not always mean better, especially when it comes to simultaneously enjoying favorite holiday desserts and trying to lose weight.

So rather than allowing temptation to overpower satisfaction, take a small piece. Moderating portion sizes truly is key to losing weight during the holidays and throughout the entire year.

Using a small plate and fork can also assist in keeping portions moderated while pleasing that sugar craving. If the dessert is proportioned, consider sharing it with someone else.

2. Practice Mindful Eating

Find yourself downing that slice of pumpkin pie as quickly as your plated it? Rather than continuously doing so, start practicing the concept of mindful eating.

Mindful eating is nonjudgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations while eating. The practice encourages individuals to truly savor the experience of food by tuning into internal and external cues.

Tips for mindful eating include the following:

• Recognize why you are eating. Is it based on true hunger? Or a craving?
• Sit down to the food at hand, even eating in complete silence from time-to-time.
• Eliminate all distractions, including the television and cellphone.
• Give gratitude to the food and truly acknowledge what it took to prepare it.
• Use all the senses when eating. Notice how it tastes, smells, etc.
• Chew meals slowly, which likewise prevents from overeating.
• Set utensils down between each bite and only pick back up after chewing and swallowing.

3. Choose Nutrition

Most of the time, temptation takes over. This can subsequently cause sweet treats to take over the meal plate. And while the dessert table may be in arms reach, it is important to disregard its close proximity.

But before heading to the dessert table, question the intention. For instance, ask yourself, "Am I wanting it because it is available?" Also recognize if you are actually feeling hungry or experiencing a craving.

Cravings are often the psychological desire for those so-called "comfort foods." On the other hand, hunger is often not exclusive to one food and individuals likely feel satisfied after eating. If left unmanaged, hunger results to a growling stomach, headache, and loss of energy.

If truly feeling hungry, do not try to alleviate hunger with sweet treats. Doing so supplies empty and extra calories while likely leaving the body unsatisfied.

So instead of going for that plate of cookies, always choose good nutrition first to nourish the body appropriately. Also fill up your meal plate with fiber-filled veggies and an available protein-packed source. The combo of fiber and protein helps induce satiety and can minimize a pounding sweet tooth.

After the body is nourished, then allow yourself for that (small) slice of pecan pie you have been eyeballing. Only go for treats you truly relish over the holiday season, including that frosted sugar cookie. And as always, continue practicing the concepts of moderation and mindful eating!

4. Fill Up On a Balanced Meal

It is all too common for those to try and save up calories before heading to a holiday celebration. While this makes sense in theory, going to the party ravenous can cause you to overeat.

So before heading to any sort of get together, fill up on a balanced meal a few hours prior. As a general rule of thumb, fill up half the meal plate with non-starchy veggies. Options include steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, and mixed salad greens. Fill a quarter of the plate with a lean protein source, such as chicken and sirloin. The other quarter should include a complex carb and starch, which may include brown rice or a sweet potato.

If hungry but not enough for a complete meal, eat a protein-based snack to satisfy the body. A protein-based snack should offer about 10 to 15 grams of protein and stand around 150 to 200 calories. Appropriate snacks include string cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and mixed nuts.

5. Offer Healthier Options

While you cannot control what others bring to the Christmas gathering, you have the opportunity to provide healthier alternatives. You also never know just how many others are being mindful of dessert selections and truly appreciate your gesture!

If needing inspiration, check out these healthy and lower-calorie Christmas desserts. Delicious recipes include a semi low-calorie pecan pie and other delicious low-fat desserts!

6. Swap Ingredients

In addition to offering healthier options, you can swap ingredients for the ultimate calorie control. So when making baked goods for the holiday party, minimize innutritious ingredients by using these healthy baking swaps.

For example, using applesauce and pumpkin can take the place of oil. What's more, it offers a natural sweetness and moisture without adding calories from fat.

Truly, the reformulated dessert will still be desirable while sustaining a healthy holiday diet!

7. Maintain Control

Remember, food should not be a dictator so do not let it control you. Besides, it can be easy to get carried away with all the sweet treats!

But maintaining some sort of structure helps you stay on track and in control. For instance, select a day to bake cookies with the family and another evening to enjoy a small slice of pie.

You really can have your cake and eat it too by staying in control, particularly by practicing mindful eating and moderation!