It’s no secret that wintertime often means less activity and added pounds for many children and adults. In fact, adult weight gain during the six-week winter period from Thanksgiving through the new year averages one to five pounds, and is accompanied by increases in percent body fat and fat mass. That is about HALF of annual adult weight gain and could be a concern in light of the rising prevalence of obesity.
- You and your family can make healthier nutritional choices during the wintertime! Here are a few ways to do it:
- First and foremost, lead by example with your family. Children are much more likely to “do what you do, not what you say.”
- Counteract the fewer daylight hours (which means less Vitamin D in your diet) with fruits and veggies that are high in D: fish, mushrooms, potatoes, milk. A very complete list can be found at www.nutritiondata.self.com.
- Drink plenty of water and other hydrating drinks … and drink before you are thirsty!
- Keep healthy foods within your kids’ reach, and make sure veggies for snacking are washed, peeled, cut and easy to find in the fridge.
- Enjoy family dinners together at the table. This usually translates to healthier meals, and it adds to quality time as a family as well.
- Eat low-sodium soups and stews that are broth- or tomato-based and contain lots of vegetables. Eating a broth-based soup before a meal can fill you up and help you eat fewer calories during the meal.
- Include plenty of lean protein in your diet to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Create a favorite recipe with healthier alternatives. For instance, use lean meats in casseroles, egg whites instead of whole eggs, replace cream with fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk.
- Never go to a holiday party hungry. Eating baby carrots, a big salad, or an apple, for example, can curb your desire for less healthy party-food choices.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are fairly high in calories and, since many holiday celebrations involve drinking for the adults, it’s easy to take in a lot of calories without being aware. Or keep your alcohol consumption moderate … drink a glass of water or a diet soda before and after each alcoholic beverage to control both the alcohol and the calories.
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