August 16 2018
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The winter is jam-packed with amazing things—holidays, snow, cozy sweaters and hot chocolate, to name a few. But what it doesn’t have is tons of daylight or warm running temperatures. Unfortunately, that means less time out on the pavement and more time stuck indoors. For many, being stuck inside means having more time to overeat and pack on the winter pounds. Before winter even begins, use these five dietitian-approved tips to avoid stuffing your face with loads of pie and eggnog.
“Before running to the kitchen for a snack, ask yourself if you’re hungry enough to eat an apple,” suggests Stacey Mattinson, MS, RDN, LD. If the answer is no, that’s a good sign that you may be eating for a reason other than hunger, like boredom or stress. If that’s the case, Mattinson recommends occupying yourself with a different activity until the desire to eat passes.
When we think of holiday weight gain, it all starts with the dreaded/delightful holiday parties–dreaded because it’s nearly impossible to avoid the tiny appetizers and abundance of desserts, but delightful because, heck, it’s a party! If you’re heading to a holiday party at night, plan out your healthy eating throughout the day, suggests Angel Planells MS, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Snacking beforehand can prevent you from showing up hangry to the party,” Planells adds. Kristin Coughlin, MS, RDN, suggests: “avoid [small] bites, licks and tastes. By sampling a little bit of everything, you are eating more than one portion of food.”
It may sound counterintuitive to eat in order to avoid overeating, but hear me out. You know when you skip lunch and then feel ravenous at dinner, so you eat twice your normal serving size? That tends to happen because “skipping meals leads to overeating,” says Rahaf Al Bochi, RD, LD. She warns that it’s difficult to control how much you eat when you’re ravenous, and that’s when you are likely to make unhealthy choices. Seriously people–just stick to three meals a day and all will be gravy (not literally).
Hydration really does affect all aspects of life, from hunger to running performance. Dehydration often masks itself as hunger, causing many people to overeat when they don’t actually need nourishment. “Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, and flavor it with fresh or frozen fruit if you like a little something extra,” says Jenna Gorham, RD, LN. She also recommends checking in with your hunger before you reach for food. If you ate recently, you might be feeling the urge to nosh because you’re just thirsty.
If Oreos are your weakness and you find yourself eating a whole package of them on a Friday night in, then why even keep them in the house? Force yourself to go out and brave the cold winter to get your favorite treat. That will make you less likely to indulge quite as often. But, of course, do keep plenty of healthy foods in your house. That way, “when you do head to the kitchen for a snack, you’ll reach for good-for-you items, rather than empty calories,” says Jessica Ivey, RDN.