Control Calories and Cholesterol over the Holidays

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Rebecca M., Eng and 2 others

It is the season to be jolly and ... to forget one's diet. Feasts - family and school reunions, Christmas parties, and weddings - are the highlights of the season. Food is so tempting; turkey and ham are traditional mainstays. Beverages of various kinds flow to wash down everything you munch. It is an agony to ignore or to miss a second helping. In fact, absentminded nibbling becomes a common habit during Christmas time. The family table, it seems, is almost always crowded with gift foods from neighbors and friends, plus the home-baked goodies. Pastries and pies, celebration cakes and fruitcakes abound at the dessert table. Who can resist such glorious feasts?

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Yet there's the cardiac system, the blood pressure, the cholesterol, the sugar and the weight bulge to watch out for. Some health troubles are waiting to happen if you go on a binge of foods high in calories, sugar and cholesterol. You may end up being escorted to a hospital if you aren't prudent. Be wise and cautious if you don't want to spoil the fun.

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Christmas has become a season to overindulge, so you have to learn to eat sensibly. If you are resolved to keep your calories and cholesterol under control without missing the Christmas merriment, you can plan in advance and take some measures to ensure you can still enjoy your festive favorites. It takes a lot of sacrifices, but you will emerge still in tip top shape and able to welcome a healthy New Year.

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So, cheer up! Following is some sensible advice to enjoy the best and the rest of the Yuletide Season, without compromising your health.

How to Control Calories and Cholesterol over the Holidays

Individuals plagued by heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol problems, and who are overweight can still enjoy feasts without fear and here's how:

  1. 1
    Practice mind over belly
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    1. Brace and condition yourself to be in the right frame of mind before the holiday.
    2. Keep your determination to be able to stick to your regular or special diet.
    3. Do not lecture on healthy eating at parties. This is not the appropriate time to spoil the appetite of those enjoying the unhealthy holiday dishes.
    4. If you are close to someone you know is a health risk, remind the person in private.
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  2. 2
    Moderation is the key
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    Prepare a variety of foods that you can consume in moderation, and make sure to balance eating with physical activity. Notwithstanding the abundance of party foods on the table, do your best to pick the right variety of foods to put in your plate. You can still afford a balanced Christmas treat if you fill your plate with the correct portions from each of the food groups.
    1. Eat enough, but do not overindulge. Have a small portion of each food that you really like.
    2. Take pleasure in one or two small treats; that way you don't feel deprived. But ... don't go back for third and fourth helpings.
    3. Resist overfilling your plate. You are more likely to finish everything on it and eat more than if you take smaller helpings.
    4. Go easy! Eat slowly, chew your food well and take into account your feeling of satiety and fullness. Avoid overfilling your plate so you don't continue to nibble.
    5. Sit farthest from the buffet table. If you're close by, you will have the tendency to snatch repeated small servings, which can add up quickly.
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  3. 3
    Know the cholesterol-rich foods that you should avoid at parties
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    1. Fatty meat. Opt for leaner meats like chicken and turkey, and trim the visible fat.
    2. Desserts. Pies, pastries and, most especially, cakes are loaded with sugars.
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  4. 4
    Consume a healthy snack before going to a party or event
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    Whether it is a party at home, at someone else's place or a public function, here are some tips for you:
    1. Eating a sandwich or a bowl of cereal is good.
    2. High-fiber snacks give you a feeling of fullness.
    3. Fiber binds cholesterol and stops it from passing into the bloodstream.
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  5. 5
    Visualize a healthy meal on your way to a party
    Conjure healthy images in your mind:
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    1. Go for vegetable dishes or green salads, fruits and healthy desserts.
    2. Choose pasta and non-meat entrees.
    3. Forego dips, gravies, sauces, and especially dressings.
    4. Just get small servings and do not fill your plate much, so you don't feel forced to eat it all.
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  6. 6
    Take a healthy dish with you
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    1. Bring one healthy dish as your share to the party or simply as a gift.
    2. Encourage guests at your party to take home leftovers from the table. Leftovers are very tempting and can make you to overeat the following day.
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  7. 7
    Tame your appetite
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    1. When famished, don't go out to eat.
    2. Stick to a reasonable meal time.
    3. Eat a high-fiber snack before the event.
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  8. 8
    Opt for a healthier drink
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    1. Drink water and not any other beverage.
    2. Say no to alcohol. If you get tipsy or intoxicated, your mind will be clouded and you will find it difficult to make healthy choices or resist foods you should have avoided.
    3. Instead of caffeinated drinks, ask for herbal teas.
    4. If you are still craving a drink other than water, think about the calories from what you can have: A cup of grape juice has 180 calories per cup, orange juice has 80, and apple, pineapple or cranberry juice yields 120. Water has 0 calories, thus providing you more calorie room that you can reserve to enjoy more solid food.
    5. Drink a glass of red wine. It is shown to reduce cholesterol, but only if you drink it in moderation. It is still a source of calories.
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  9. 9
    Eat slowly
    Don't eat fast. Chewing your food will aid in digestion. When you are done, you can remove yourself from the food area.
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  10. 10
    Focus on the people for whom the social event was planned
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    1. Look for the honoree or the other guests and join in conversations.
    2. If there are social activities, join in these rather than merely dining.
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  11. 11
    If you have difficulty holding yourself back, remind yourself how hazardous some fares are, even beyond the calories
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    1. The food you are ingesting could have been subjected to unnatural practices to promote growth of live stocks and set the breeding ground for new strains of viruses and toxins.
    2. They are also subjected to an abundance of vaccines, drugs and growth promoters.
    3. There are residues, and these are dangerous if ingested in large amounts in food.
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  12. 12
    Burn your calories
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    1. Walk around the neighborhood. This has long been advice given to people who want to shed weight. This is still one of the best forms of exercise. It is also a good opportunity to greet people you know in the community.
    2. Go shopping. To effortlessly burn calories, walk around the mall and enjoy your Christmas shopping. When going shopping, park your car a farther from the entrance and walk.
    3. Go caroling. Gather some of your friends and sing Christmas carols to your neighbors. A brisk walk around the neighborhood is a great workout.
    4. Avoid the escalators and the elevators. Make use of the stairs instead.
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  13. 13
    Wrap gifts
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    You can burn calories doing the wrapping of all those gifts you shopped for. Getting busy with this activity will also take away your focus on eating.
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  14. 14
    Bake some homemade holiday bread
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    These goodies, aside from being a good, personalized kind of gift, are beneficial to you. Your baking activity, like the act of kneading, is great exercise.
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Show your family and guests you care about their health by preparing holiday dishes that they can still enjoy and keep them going back to the buffet table. Guests, on the other hand, who are aware of their health condition, have to follow these tips and not go overboard and not risk their health. Eat in moderation.

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Tips, Tricks and Warning

  • Start with fruits and vegetables always. A feeling of fullness from the fiber content of these foods will lessen your temptation to gobble up other foods that are high in fats and calories.
  • When you cannot resist a glass of red wine, drink it alternately with water.
  • Avoid getting stressed out during this season. Stress triggers a boost in your cholesterol level. You may have a tendency to turn to unhealthy comfort foods.
  • Remove yourself from the cause of the stress by taking a mind-clearing walk around the area. Come back sweating, relaxed and exercised.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Holidays & Traditions

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Rebecca M.

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