Reaching a happy medium for your 2015 food choices

It’s hard to believe another year has gone and it’s time for Christmas again.

No one, myself included, wants to spend extra time worrying about avoiding high calorie food or exercising today. Unfortunately, sitting around and overeating does not add to the fun of the day either. In the long run this habit will sap away your energy and enthusiasm instead.

As an alternative to moaning in pain and looking for a nap, consider the following suggestions to reach a happy medium and have a wonderful day filled with yummy foods.

An easy way to make room for fun foods is to reduce the amount of high calorie drinks you consume. Calories from soda, juice, flavored coffee drinks, egg nog and alcohol can really add up. The real downside is they don’t deliver the same feeling of fullness as foods with the same calories, tricking our brain and stomach into eating more than we should. Replacing these choices with sugar free or plain varieties (or water!) can save you hundreds of calories, depending on the size and amount you normally drink. Take the time to read the food label or look up the calories and you’ll be amazed. A 20-ounce flavored espresso with whole milk has almost 100 more calories than a slice of apple pie!

Consider using a smaller plate for your meals. Even normal portions can look out of place on an oversized plate, deceiving you into taking more than you need. Having less room available, but the same amount of food choices, helps you limit your portions naturally, so you won’t feel deprived. A smaller bite of food still has the same amount of flavor as a forkful, so take the time to chew slowly and really savor your food. Once you swallow it, it’s gone!

Moving chips, cookies, chocolate and candies out of the line of sight will help prevent mindless eating. If you can’t see it, you can’t eat it. Instead, I recommend replacing less healthy options with a fresh vegetable tray and a low fat dip or salsa. What a great way to slip in some nutrients that your body craves and still allow for chewing, no attention necessary!

Finally, find extra ways to move around. Turn on the music and dance, march during commercials, or have a planking contest! Calories you can burn are always on your side keeping you healthy. And, the more you move, the more you can eat!

Mary is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome — send questions to Mary C. Koch, R.D. in care of this newspaper.


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