How to beat the bulge over the holidays

The Dairy Council of Arizona is a paid sponsor of Sonoran Living Live


The season has started and will soon be in full swing.  The Halloween candy is still hanging around, along with the wilted web decorations; the mashed potatoes will be beckoning before you know it and the smell of all the baking and holiday favorites can be too much to bear.  While studies vary on the amount reportedly gained over the holiday season, the average range is anywhere from 2-6 pounds - extra weight that you can probably do without.  You can enjoy the holiday celebrations, but beat the holiday bulge by incorporating these healthful tips into your holiday schedule:
Plan ahead - Take a look at your calendar and see what activities you already have planned.  For those pot luck parties, bring something you can enjoy that's delicious and guilt free.  Try this easy Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip created by 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy and serve it with whole grain crostini, baked chips and veggies.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip  
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (or 2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped)
1 (8 oz) container low-fat or fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 cup shredded part-skim, low-moisture Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped red pepper
Combine all ingredients except red pepper and mix well. Pour mixture into 1-quart casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and sprinkle with red peppers. Serve with toasted bread or whole grain crackers.

Think your drink - Choose beverages that are nutrient rich, like low fat and fat free flavored milk.  These will fill you up, satisfy cravings and provide you vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy.
Smart snacking - Make sure you stock your fridge and pantry with nutrient rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat and fat free milk, cheese and yogurt. This will provide the basic building blocks for healthy snacks - a must to bring with you on a marathon shopping trip or grab a quick and healthy snack before leaving for a holiday party.  
Keep moving - Don't let your exercise routine lapse over the holidays.  Get to the gym, go for a walk, play with the kids - anything to keep yourself moving.  This will not only burn calories, but it will also help reduce stress, which often leads to unstructured eating.

Remember that this is not the time to begin a weight loss program - you'll likely be setting yourself up for failure. But it is a time to pay attention, work at maintaining your weight without gaining extra, and enjoy the food, family and festivities.  For more recipes and tips for healthy meals and snacks, visit     http://www.dairycouncilofaz.org
By Terri Verason, MS, RD
Director of Nutrition Education, Dairy Council of Arizona.

The Dairy Council of Arizona is a paid sponsor of Sonoran Living Live

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