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Packing on the Pounds Doesn’t Have to be a ‘Given’ this Holiday December 18, 2009

For more information, call Rebecca Sylvester at 706/828-2394.

Packing on the Pounds Doesn’t Have to be a ‘Given’ this Holiday

AUGUSTA, GA. (Dec. 18, 2009) The holiday season can test your willpower and make it hard to stick to a weight-loss plan or follow a special diet.

Beth Barranco, a registered nurse with University Hospital, says it’s a good idea to realize you’re going to face increased temptation during the holidays and plan ahead for it.

“Give a little more thought to your food choices during the holidays,” she said. “If you’re going to a dinner party one evening, eat a light breakfast and lunch that day. Select healthy options at buffets, and look for low-fat recipes for family meals or when entertaining.”

  • Rather than completely avoiding holiday treats, try to enjoy them in moderation.
  • Watch your serving sizes -- most are a half cup.
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals. Serve vegetable trays with low-fat dips, salsas with fat-free tortillas, or vegetable-based soups as a first course. Toss green peppers, cherry tomatoes and zucchini into your whole wheat pasta dishes. Serve baked or chocolate-dipped fruits for dessert. Adding high-fiber, low-calorie foods will help you feel satisfied longer.
  • Drink a lot of water or other sugar-free, nonalcoholic beverages. Beware of punches and alcoholic beverages that add hundreds of empty calories.
  • Increase your activity level. -- take a family walk after a large meal.

When preparing food, Ms. Barranco said small changes can make a big difference. “One of the best changes you can make is to reduce the amount of fat and sugar in your recipes,” she said. She offered these suggestions:

  • Use skim rather than whole milk.
  • Replace half the oil in baked goods with applesauce.
  • Eat fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream and cream cheese.
  • Use sugar substitutes like Splenda that can replace all or part of your sugar in recipes
  • Substitute wheat flour for plain white flour when possible.
  • Trim all visible fat from meat before cooking.
  • Bake, broil or grill your meat instead of frying it.
  • Grill or steam vegetables rather than cooking them in cheese or cream sauces.
  • Use spices, herbs and lemons to add flavor without adding calories.

“Emotions run high during the holidays, so watch for emotional issues that may trigger eating,” Ms. Barranco warned. “Many people eat when they are lonely, depressed or stressed. Stay active during the holidays and do things you enjoy.”

For more information on managing your weight, Health Central, University's community wellness facility, offers free tours and one-day passes. Call Health Central at 706-724-4408 for more information.



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