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Just when you’re
finally getting
your weight under
control, boom! It’s
the holidays, and
food is everywhere.
From home to office,
from restaurants
to camps (not to
mention parties
and family events
galore), it seems
as if the summer
holiday season is
one long, tempting
food fest designed
to make you gain
Add in the emotions of the season and
experts say the holidays can cause you
to toss your weight loss efforts out of the
But it is possible to keep the holiday food
fests from ruining your weight loss plans.
Gorging on favorite holiday foods can
widen your waistline, but they don’t have
to spell dietary disaster. In fact, some of
your guiltiest pleasures may be good for
At this time of year, you can hardly
escape hearing that thousands of people
in the GCC gain about 5kg from the
constant celebrating. What’s worse is the
football world cup season and Ramadan
is also around the corner. True, only
some people probably pack on that
much, or more, with holiday foods. For
the rest of us, the weight increase is
actually a lot less, however.
Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight
Eating regular meals and snacks every
day makes it easier to resist overdoing it
at festive events. When you occasionally
skimp on meals because you’re busy
shopping, wrapping, and baking, chew
on a protein-packed snack, such as low-
fat yogurt or reduced-fat cheese, to blunt
your hunger before gathering with family
or friends.
At parties, pile your plate with lower-fat
foods to limit high-calorie splurges. The
following top picks have fewer calories,
fat, and sodium and more fiber than
other holiday fare:
• Whole grains, such as whole-wheat
rolls, wild rice, and quinoa
• Shrimp, lobster, and other steamed
• Plain or lightly dressed vegetables
• Meat and poultry without the gravy
• Salad greens (lightly dressed)
• Fresh fruits
‘Good for You’ Holiday Foods
You know that lower-fat foods are the
wisest choices no matter what time of
year. But the benefits of holiday fare don’t
end with fruit, vegetables, and whole
As long as you mind your portions, these
perennial favorites are wise choices.
For fewer calories, prepare them with
an artificial sweetener used in cooking,
such as Splenda. Here’s what they have to
offer, besides calories:
Applesauce and Apples
Heart-healthy fiber does indeed keep
the doctor away. Look for unsweetened
applesauce to get the fiber without the sugar.
Bake apples with the skin to get a potent
flavonoid called quercitin, which helps prevent
heart disease.
You get the most bone-building calcium and
protein from hard cheeses.
Cranberry Sauce (Unsweetened)
Cranberries spell trouble for bacteria that cause
most urinary tract infections. If you like sweet
cranberries, add a minimal amount of sugar, or
artificial sweetener.
Dark Chocolate
Seventy percent dark chocolate contains the
most flavonols -- helpful plant substances that
help decrease cholesterol.
Green Beans
Naturally low in calories, string beans are
loaded with vitamin K, which helps protect
your bones. Also, a good source of vitamin C
and vitamin A. But skip heavy sauces with this
veggie. Try beans lightly tossed with olive oil
and lemon.
Nuts are chock-full of heart-healthy unsaturated
fat, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Pumpkin Pie
This rich orange vegetable contains carotenoids
for making vitamin A in the body and fighting
free radicals. Pumpkin is also a good source
of potassium and fiber. Beware: most pies are
loaded with sugar. Use artificial sweetener
instead of sugar for a lower calorie dessert.
Yams/Sweet Potatoes
Yams offer carotenoids, potassium, vitamin
C, and fiber. Candied yams are high in sugar.
Bake with a bit of brown sugar, or with artificial
sweetener, for the taste without the calories.
Don’t Let Holiday Foods Get the
Best of You
Curb calories from so-called naughty foods by
taking tiny portions. The first few bites of any
food provide the most pleasure. Once you’ve
finished your treat, fight the urge for more.
Follow these simple everyday tips, and enjoy
your holiday guilt free
• Sit far from buffet tables, candy dishes, and
cookie-laden platters.
• Excuse yourself from the dinner table when
done eating.
• Keep your mouth busy by talking with friends
and family.
• Chew gum or suck on a sugarless breath mint
to prevent picking.
• If you’re able, regularly brush your teeth
(presumably after every larger meal) as the
taste of toothpaste dulls taste buds.
July/Aug 2014