With Halloween in the rear-view mirror, and Thanksgiving and Christmas straight ahead, we're in the thick (pun intended) of the holiday eating season. Wouldn't it be great not to have your first New Year's resolution be having to lose the pounds you gain between now and then? To the rescue: Seven great tips from registered dietitians Linda Delorey (also a certified diabetes educator) and Diane West of St. Anthony's LifeHelp Nutrition and Diabetes Center in St. Petersburg:
Eat conscientiously: Try chewing each bite at least 10 times before swallowing. Slowing down allows your body to take in the tastes, scents and textures of the food, which makes the experience more satisfying.
Be wise about portion size: Have the pie — but hold it to a third of a typical slice and you've only consumed 100 calories. Put just a spoonful of au gratin potatoes on the plate, and fill the rest with lean protein and veggies.
Think before you drink: Remember to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Limit the alcohol: a half cup of traditional eggnog packs 200 calories and a couple (small) glasses of wine are around 230 calories.
Plan ahead: Stock your fridge with sliced fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats, nut butters, low-fat cheese and hummus. Make them easily accessible in your fridge.
Don't skip meals or mindlessly graze: Have a balanced breakfast that includes healthy protein sources. And don't go to a party or to the grocery store when you're hungry. Have a small, healthy meal or snack before you go.
Stay active: Keep up with your regular routine and add extras, such as taking stairs instead of escalators at the mall and taking extra walks with your pet or family members. Use a pedometer as your motivator.
Schedule rest and relaxation: Holiday stress can lead to overindulgence. Get a massage, do some yoga, take a soothing bath, read a good book. Hormones involved with sleep and metabolism get out of whack when you're exhausted. Make a good night's sleep a priority.
What's your best tip for staying healthy over the holidays? Join the conversation at facebook.com/tampabaytimeshealth.