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Surviving the Holiday Season

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It Begins!

Beginning with Halloween and all the scary little Trick or Treaters, we find ourselves slipping down the slippery slope straight into the rest of our fall and winter holidays.

How are you going to fare this year?

Are you going to maintain your weight, or are you going to gain weight this year?

It is said, the average American gains 5 to 10 pounds during this holiday season, but is this true?

Although there are many claims that the average weight gain during the holidays is 5-10 pounds, most Americans actually only gain about 1 or 2 pounds during the holidays. The problem is, they don’t lose the extra weight over the year, but instead continue to gradually gain weight.  Over 10 years that adds up to an extra 10 – 20 pounds or more, increasing the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer to name just a few.

Our problem in America is that we actually never quit having a holiday season. We have birthdays year-round, and after New Year’s Eve, we have at least 5 more celebrations that center around food and sweets before Halloween even rolls around again in October.  Lifestyle is the problem for weight gain, not a couple of holidays at the end of the year.

Test Your Nutritional Knowledge!

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Which appetizer has the fewest calories?

a. 1 oz. of brie cheese + 4 crackers

b. ¼ cup of nuts

c. 2 Tablespoons of hummus with 1 cup of vegetables

 C. 2 Tablespoons of hummus with 1 cup of vegetables. I know this appears pretty obvious to most of you, but it’s an important point. Load up on vegetables when they’re available as an appetizer. They take longer to eat and add so few calories that you can eat them while socializing with no harm done to your waistline. Then, when the dessert trays come out, you can legitimately say you have no room for the sweet treats now. That full cup of veggies in this snack will fill you up. Add a zero-calorie beverage and you will be satisfied. The veggies and hummus also take some time to eat so that snack will keep you busy and away from the unhealthy foods on the buffet. 

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Which cocktail has the least calories?

a. A rum and Coke

b. A martini

c. A whiskey sour

B. A martini contains 135 calories, the whiskey sour contains 158 calories, and the rum and Coke contains 211 calories. But really, just do not indulge in any alcohol. While the amount of calories in each drink is not huge in themselves, the larger problem is the alcohol is going to lower your inhibitions and you will find it much easier to gorge on those foods that are full of sugar and unhealthy fats. Alcohol only serves to leave you with regret the next day. You should not require alcohol in order to enjoy yourself when surrounded by loved ones. After one drink, it’s all too easy to drink more. If you need help to avoid alcohol, see your doctor.

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 Which food has the most sodium?

a. ½ cup packaged bread stuffing

b. ½ cup homemade mashed potatoes

c. 1 dinner roll

A. ½ cup packaged bread stuffing. A serving of the stuffing contains 400-450mg of sodium, while homemade mashed potatoes typically contain about 120mg-350mg, depending on how much salt you add, and a dinner roll contains 130mg-170 mg. Remember, you have little to no control over the amount of sodium that comes in pre-packaged foods, but you do have full control over the foods you prepare yourself at home. You have more control during the holidays than you may believe! Be proactive and carry healthy, home-prepared foods with you to control sodium AND calories.

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Which meat contains the LEAST amount of fat?

a. 3 ounces of boneless ham

b. 3 ounces of boneless duck with skin

c. 3 ounces of turkey leg no skin

 A & C.  Both the ham and the turkey leg with no skin contain 8 grams of fat, while duck contains a whopping 25 grams of fat. However, if you choose turkey breast without the skin (or gravy) it only has 1 gram of fat per 3 ounces. If you enjoy having duck for a holiday meal, then by all means go ahead and have the duck. After all, your problem with weight gain during the holidays does not come from having meat, your weight gain comes from the barrage of cakes, cookies and pies more than anything. Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are more of your problem than a fatty cut of meat. While fat does add extra calories, it does not produce the cravings induced by the simple carbs in desserts, breads and pastas.

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Which side dish offers the most nutrition?

a. Roasted sweet potatoes

b. Sautéed green beans

c. Tossed green salad with vinaigrette

d. All of the above

 D. All of the above. These are all great choices when prepared with a moderate amount of oil because you maximize the nutrition while minimizing the extra calories from sugar and fat. Consider preparing one or more of these side dishes instead of traditional sweet potatoes with sugar and marshmallows, green bean casserole or other high calorie side dishes.

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Which pie has the fewest calories?

a. Pumpkin Pie w. 2 Tablespoons whipped cream

b. Apple Pie w. ½ cup vanilla ice cream

c. Pecan Pie

 A. Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream has about 320 calories; Apple Pie with ice cream has about 495 calories; Pecan Pie with no toppings has 500 calories. (The links will take you to “No Sugar Added” versions of these pies!) We have a very wide selection of dessert recipes to get you through the holidays.

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Be the life of the party
Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others. Take advantage of the opportunity to catch up with friends and family that you haven’t seen in a long time. Ask questions and LISTEN! Social activity is calorie-free and burns way more calories than sitting at the edge of the buffet.

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Cheers to good health
Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice. When you fill up on 0-calorie liquids, you have little room for fattening desserts.

No Sugar Added Red Velvet Cake – David’s Way to Health and Fitness (

Dessert Make-Over

We have a “No Sugar Added” version of almost ANY dessert you would like to make. You can have dessert with these scrumptious treats without inducing cravings! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, click the “Contact” button and tell us what you need!

Pay attention to what really matters.

It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday season. These festive celebrations can make Winter a little warmer, but the feasts and parties can tax the arteries and strain the waistline. By eating just 200 extra calories a day, you could pack on two to three pounds over this five- to six-week period. Remember, few people shed that extra weight in the following months and years. It just continues to increase! Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family and friends, laughter and cheer.

If balance and moderation are your normal, getting through this busy season will be much easier. This is one reason we encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. When you have good health habits, it is much easier to get back on track if you overindulge on a special occasion.

With a little forethought and planning, you can come through this season of lights with your health initiative fully intact and NO extra pounds! Start perusing this website now for tips and tricks to help.

We’re always open!

Sugar Free Pecan Pie

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