A Thanksgiving that Won’t Expand Your Waistline

It’s a holiday all about being thankful…and of course all about the food! Ah! But don’t worry- holidays are all about moderation. Follow these tips and you’ll be extra thankful that you avoided holiday weight gain this year!

Don’t starve!: I can’t tell you how many times my clients have said to me “I’m going to a big holiday party, so I’m just not going to eat all day to save calories for it.” This is the WORST thing you can possibly do! Why? You will end up excessively hungry and overeating the high fat/high calorie foods at the party- eating way more than you would have in the first place.

Instead, eat filling meals and snacks leading up to the event, but choose high volume, low calorie foods. My favorite choices- egg whites in the morning- ½ the calories of shell eggs and plenty of protein to keep you full for hours. Or, another quick option, Greek yogurt- it has twice the protein of regular yogurt to keep you twice as full for the same amount of calories. For snacks, try low calorie, high fiber options such as air popped or low fat microwave popcorn. Of course, fresh veggies and fruit always make terrific snack options as well.

Watch how you eat at the party: Now that you are not excessively hungry going to the party, you will be able to make healthier choices. First, offer to bring a healthy, low calorie option such as a veggie platter or salad so you know a healthy choice will be available. Then, I like to use a rating system when filling your plate. Instead of just placing everything on your plate while it is passed, look at all the options first and say to yourself, what are my true favorites? Rank each food on a scale on 1-10 (10 being the best) and place only the 9s and 10s on your plate. Also, my favorite tip: Don’t sit directly next to your favorite dish! It is just way too easy to take 2nds and 3rds if it is right there. Instead, sit next to a healthier dish like the turkey or salad.

Get moving! You want to burn off that turkey, so plan to get a brisk walk or workout in before going to the holiday party. If that isn’t possible, see if your family would be up for a nice walk together after the meal. It’s a great way to talk and catch up with relatives while keeping everyone healthy!

Alcohol: This is one of the major reasons for holiday weight gain, since it is mostly empty calories. Did you know that alcohol can also make you hungrier? For this reason, try to have a drink at the end of the meal vs before the meal to help control your portions. Aim for lower calorie drink options, for instance a wine spritzer made with club soda (2oz club soda, 2oz wine) is 40 calories vs. 85 calories per 4oz of wine. Regular beer contains 150 calories, but choose ultra light beers, such as Bud Select 55, and it’s only 55 calories per beer! Alcoholic beverages such as egg nog (400 calories per 8 oz!) and margaritas (300+ calories per 4 oz!) can have as many calories as your meal. Instead, choose low calorie options available in most stores, or for egg nog, make your own with egg whites and skim milk instead of whole eggs and heavy cream.

What are your favorite tips for having a healthy Thanksgiving?

Wishing you and your families a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!!!

For more information visit erinpalinski.com

Copyright 2012. ErinPalinski.com. All Rights Reserved.

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My Easy Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season!


I can’t believe the holidays are almost here! It’s that time of year again where the food temptations, hectic schedules with holiday events, and excessive sweets & treats can start to pack on the pounds if we aren’t careful. You may wonder how to enjoy the holidays and still manage to maintain a healthful diet. The secret is moderation and balance – almost any holiday food can fall into your healthy meal plan if you follow some of my favorite holiday eating tips. Stick with these tips and you will be slim and trim when the New Year rings in!

My favorite holiday eating tips:

Tip #1: Plan to Eat a Healthy Snack Before Going Off to a Holiday Party or Dinner:
Have a healthy snack before heading out to your party or dinner, so you won’t be too hungry when you arrive. This will help you to avoid overeating once you are at the party, as well as make more healthful choices.

Tip #2: Avoid Skipping Meals:
Many of us think if we do not eat too much the day of a party we can eat more at the holiday celebration. Skipping meals just sets you up to be ravenous and increases the odds of overeating and/or making poor food choices at the party.

Tip #3: Be Selective:
Choose only the foods you really want to eat. At appetizer tables, choose only 2 or 3 of your favorites and walk away. For dinner selections, fill half your plate with vegetables and divide the rest of the plate between protein and starches. A small taste from the dessert table can satisfy a craving. Avoid mindless eating and snacking. Once you make your food selections stand/sit away from the food tables to avoid unconscious eating.

Tip #4: Limit the Amount of Alcohol you Consume:
Choose alcoholic beverages wisely if you are going to drink. Lower calorie options include wine, wine spritzers, light beer or champagne. In addition to providing empty calories, alcohol tends to lower inhibitions, which may encourage you to overeat.

Tip #5: Skip Other High Calorie Beverages:
Skip high calorie beverages such as sodas, juices, eggnog and special coffee drinks. Save your food budget for the foods offered and stick to drinking water, diet beverages or seltzer.

Tip #6: Wear Pants or Skirts with a Waistband:
An elastic waist does not help to keep you mindful of what you are eating. An actual waistband might help to remind you when to stop.

Tip #7: Be Physically Active:
Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It is especially important during the holiday season when you may be eating more than usual. In addition, physical activity can improve your sense of well-being and help to reduce stress levels.

Tip #8: Make the Focus about Family and Friends:
Celebrate being together. Shift the focus from the food and beverages to the joy of being with family and friends.

What are your favorite healthy eating tips during the holidays?

For more information visit erinpalinski.com

Copyright 2012. ErinPalinski.com. All Rights Reserved.

Essential Tips for 1st Time Marathon Runners


With the NYC Marathon happening this Sunday, I figured this would be a good opportunity to discuss the main nutrition and hydration tips every marathoner, and especially first time marathoners, need to know for a successful and safe race!

Tip #1: Stay hydrated during the race:
Aim to drink 3-6 ounces of fluid every 15-20minutes of running, or about 1 cup every other mile.

Tip #2: Know Your Sweat Rate
The best way to determine your individual fluid needs is to know your sweat rate, which can be determined when you train. How to do it: Weigh yourself completely naked before and after an intense one hour run. The amount of weight you lost represents how much fluid you sweat out (in addition to any fluid you drank). So for instance, if the scale reflects you lost one pound (16 oz) and you also drank 8 oz during the run, this means you sweat 24 ounces per hour. So, going forward, you would want to plan on replenishing 24oz per every hour of intensive exercise to stay adequately hydrated.

Tip #3: Include Sports Drinks, not just water, especially on hot days
When we sweat, we lose both water as well as electrolytes. During long races, such as a marathon, you also deplete your energy stores. Sports drinks help to restock your energy stores with the carbohydrates they contain, as well as help replenish both fluid and electrolyte losses. This can help prevent hyponatremia (low blood-sodium level caused by excessive water intake).

Tip #4: Develop a Race Day Plan
During the race is not the time to make decisions about refueling, since you may be too tired to think clearly and make the best decisions. Know in advance how often you plan on rehydrating and refueling. Make sure your plan includes consuming some for of calories (simple carbohydrates are best during a marathon) along with fluid within the 1st 45-60 minutes of the race. If you wait too long, you may lose energy or become dehydrated, making it harder to finsih the race.

Tip #5: Now is not the time to drastically change your diet
In the days leading up to your race, stick with foods that you know your body digests easily and you have eaten before. Some runners become irritated with high fat, high fiber, or excessive dairy foods. Try including a good source of complex carbohydrates each day leading up to the race (whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole grain cereals, etc) to make sure your glycogen stores are fuelling fueled for race day. However, try not to eat more calories then you normally would.

Tip #6: Energy Gel Warning
Energy gels are a great way to provide your body with energy during a race. However, having an energy gel at the same time as a sport drink can cause stomach cramps or diarrhea since the excessive sugar at once can pull too much fluid into the GI tract. Instead, drink your energy gels with water or have a sport drink alone.

Tip #7: Start your recovery right after you cross the finish line
You want to refuel and re-hydrate right after completing the marathon to help your body recover quickly. Aim to eat/drink about 300 calories within an hour of completing the race. This meal/snack should include a good source of complex carbohydrates (to replenish glycogen stores) as well as protein (to help muscle repair). This can be as simple as a glass of chocolate milk or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread. Drink fluids slowly and continuously after completing your race to help rehydrate.

Good luck to all the runners this weekend! It looks like it will be beautiful weather!

For more information visit erinpalinski.com

Copyright 2012. ErinPalinski.com. All Rights Reserved.