Column: Helping you through Christmas day

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, December 6, 2005

By Staff
I was driving in my car this morning and a Christmas song started to play. As I began to sing along to "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” I realized I was singing different words than the version on the radio. Instead it sang, "It's the Most Fattening Time of the Year!” Doesn't this ring true to the holiday season.
So how are you making it through all of the yummy holiday food? If you are not, it is OK, today is a new day and there are plenty of good ways to help you feel better. For many of us in a few weeks we will be making a huge Christmas dinner with all the goodies that go along with it. It is the best time of the year to eat but can also be the most fattening. Let's look at a few tips to help your Christmas day.
Do not eat while you cook
Many people will pick at the food as they are cooking - having a little bite here and a little bite there. Well, those little bites can really add up to some huge bites worth of calories and fat. Have a good breakfast and drink lots of water so you will not be so tempted to nibble here and there.
This leads me to the next problem-guests snacking all day long. This happens when you put out food for people to munch throughout the day before dinner is ready. It is much better to eat at least three meals a day and a few snacks in between when you are hungry. When people tend to snack it is not usually on just carrots and grapes. It usually consists of chips, candy, pop, cookies, fudge, etcaAfter a full day of this type of snacking you have probably consumed more sugar, fat, calories and salt than you would in two good days of eating, plus you have all of the calories still to eat at dinner.
Give away your leftovers
This is a good idea if you tend to always have more food for your guests than you needed. You end up with a pie left over or a container of gravy; so instead of eating all of those extra calories over the next week, give some of it away.
Drink water
By substituting water for a bottle of pop you are saving about 265 calories. Drinking water before you eat a meal or have the urge to snack can curb your appetite and help limit how much you eat. Water also helps to metabolize stored fat and maintain proper muscle tone.
Watch how you cook
Cooking your Christmas dinner at home can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Take a good look at how you cook. If you are baking and you need to grease the pan, instead of using grease, use light cooking spray. You will save a ton of unneeded calories. If you are using butter/margarine, sour cream, cheese, bread, etc. try the light versions (the taste difference is not big.) If you are drinking whole milk gradually work yourself down to 2% or maybe skim.
Stop before you are full
Most of us eat until we are full enough that we can't eat another bite. Stop just before that full feeling. You could save yourself a couple hundred calories. Take your time to eat. When you eat fast you have the tendency to overeat but when you eat slower you will be able to tell when you are getting to the point of being full. It takes the stomach 20 minutes to signal your brain that you are full.
Hopefully these tips will help you get through this year's Christmas dinner. Do not deprive yourself totally of all the yummy foods - eat some of what you like and leave the rest for others.
Thought of the week: A day of Christmas eating can add up to days of Christmas calories.
Do not forget to sign up for the winter adult volleyball leagues!