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From now till New Year’s Day, the festive season is usually filled with office and house parties, after work drinks and big holiday dinners. These occasions normally involve over-eating, drinking, and the intake of excessive amounts of sugars, creams, butter and other fats.

Like everyone else, Dominicans love this time of year. The combination of good food, drink, dance and fun is almost impossible to resist. Even those with disciplined eating habits tend to relax this time of the year. The sights, sounds and the season’s smells tend to stir our memories of happy, childhood Christmas times, and the more food there is, the more we tend to indulge.

An average Christmas menu alone can contribute up to 6,000 calories. The cumulative result, of course, is unwanted weight gain over the season. Complicating matters is the tendency to forgo normal gym-work or exercise to accommodate the many functions and Christmas shopping.

Unfortunately, we see and feel the negative results only after the season. There are ways to enjoy Christmas festivities without resorting to complete abstinence. Here are some smart ideas and approaches to keeping ourselves in check.

When planning a party or Christmas dinner:

1.Replace sweets or fried snacks and dishes with fruits, vegetables and nuts. These may be prepared as interesting, attractive dishes or in natural form.
2.Use cooking methods that require little or no oil, such as grilling, roasting, steaming, micro waving, and stir-fry instead of deep fry.
3.Reduce the sugar in some recipes
4.Eat fewer and smaller portion sizes.
5.Brushing teeth or rinsing with mouthwash actually discourages eating, as very few food flavors work well with the flavor of toothpaste or mouthwash.

Take Control over Your Food Intake

When attending parties or dinners, you can still have control over your food intake. Here are some suggestions:

Always eat before attending a party. Eat a carbohydrate based meal or have cereal, yoghurt or fruit. When you are comfortably full, you will be less likely to eat everything you see. It is also important to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages before having something to eat. Alcohol dehydrates, and reduces blood sugar levels leading to sugar-cravings. Alcohol also stimulates the appetite and weakens the resolve, especially when you are hungry. In addition to the potential hangover the following morning, too much alcohol can cause you to create party memories you would much rather others quickly forget.

Choose carefully and eat only those snacks or dishes you know and like. No need to take everything available and become uncomfortable and overstuffed.

Eat small portions or reduce the number of portions, especially for desserts. Moderation is the key. Eat slowly, take small forkfuls and chew until food is gone.

Have water as often as possible, certainly between alcoholic drinks, and food too. This will help maintain hydration and control appetite. Do not mix alcoholic drinks and limit what you have; they are high in calories and you have a whole season to get through. If water is not possible, drink softer drinks such as juices.

Avoid salty or deep-fried foods. Salt leads to increased drinking, water retention and discomfort. Greasy foods increase fat and calorie intake.

Avoid sweet, sugary snacks and foods, they are addictive and make you crave more. If you must have sweet foods, reduce the amounts.

Eat more of foods that are good for you and low in calories, such as soup, fruit, nuts, raw or cooked vegetables, and lean cuts of meat. This will leave less space for other, unhealthy foods.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Dan
2007-12-17 15:40:02

And, if you drink, don’t drive!

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