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Think Before You Eat: Mindful Nutrition For the Holidays

Katie Mazzia MS RD CDE | Vail Valley Medical Center

Most people only gain about two pounds from November to January. The problem is we don't lose the weight and it adds up to 20 pounds over 10 years! This is called “weight creep."

If you visit Vail or live here every day seems like a holiday or reason to celebrate. So follow these 10 “mindful” guidelines to extend your cheer beyond the season:

  1. Don't skip meals especially breakfast. It jump starts your metabolism and you'll eat less throughout the day.
  2. Eat like a princess not a king. Fill ½ your plate with non-starchy veggies ¼ with lean protein and ¼ with fiber-rich grains or starches (tip: limit potatoes rice or pasta to 1 cup).
  3. Exercise for the health benefits and not just calorie burn (always check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program).
  4. Watch your liquid calories. Juice eggnog and alcohol add up (tip: one alcoholic drink=12 oz. beer or 5 oz. wine or 1-1/2 oz. distilled spirits). If you do drink the American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women or two for men.
  5. Enjoy special treats/foods you otherwise wouldn't eat year round (i.e. Enstrom's Toffee) and skip the foods you can live without (i.e. bread and butter).
  6. If you do over-indulge one day it's not the end of the world! Get some fresh air hydrate eat a healthy breakfast and move on.
  7. Stock up on healthy food options. Fill your home with seltzer water seasonal fruits and vegetables raw nuts edamame etc.
  8. Create memories. Focus on the people around you and less on the food buffet.
  9. Plan your meals. Even busy people can cook from scratch—crock pot meals and easy soups can be prepared ahead of time. Cut-up fruit and vegetables (stored properly) can last for 5 days.
  10. Sleep 7-9 hours/night. Lack of sleep disrupts hormones which affect appetite control and sets you up for overeating.

Did you know it takes 2 hours and 11 minutes of walking to burn off one Starbucks Peppermint Chocolate Mocha? Just something to keep in "mind." Happy holidays!

Author Katie Mazzia MS RD CDE is a nutritionist at Vail Valley Medical Center.