Avoid packing on holiday pounds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The majority of Americans gain at least a pound during the holiday season, but even a small amount of weight gain can have cause major problems.

“At a time when our family and good friends gather to give thanks for all God has richly blessed us with, we must remember not to over eat,” said John Newsom, director of food and nutrition services at Andalusia Regional Hospital.

In the period from Thanksgiving to New Years, the National Institute of Health has found that Americans only gain a pound, in contrary to popular belief that most people gain from five to 10 pounds.

Newsom suggests fruits and vegetables be atop the list of foods to enjoy.

“We should be sure to enjoy the bounty of fruits and vegetables along with a moderate amount of protein,” he said. “Avoid the tempting high fat foods and desserts.”

A slice of pecan pie has a minimum of 500 calories and some recipes can be as high as 800 calories.

Pumpkin and sweet potato pies are about 241 calories per slice, a half-cup of bread pudding has about 250 calories, and everyone’s favorite, red velvet cake with icing, has 520 calories per slice, 24 grams of fat and 70 carbs. (These totals are more moderate sizes; they will vary for smaller or larger quantities).

Here are some tips to be calorie conscious about holiday favorites.

• Do the math. Become familiar with the calorie counts of favorite foods.

• Don’t skip breakfast or lunch. Saving oneself for the big meal only guarantees that one will fill up on high-calorie, high-fat snacks or hors d’oeuvres beforehand.

• Tight helps fight temptation. Wear those snug-fitting jeans or that body-hugging dress.

• Limit alcohol and soda. Remember, liquid calories count, too. Alcohol is an appetite stimulate.

• Scout out the spread. Scan the table carefully. Take larger portions of simple prepared food and small, no more than a teaspoon or two of calorie-dense stuffing.

Newsom recommends taking the family on a walk after dinner.

“God has given so richly, and He expects us to use moderation and share with those that haven’t done as well as we have. Don’t over eat and get in some physical activity so your body can properly use what you have eaten.

“Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit not warehouses for fat,” he said. “Let’s take care of what we have been given by eating moderate amounts of a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy and low in fats. Don’t forget some physical activity to burn off the excess you may have enjoyed.”