By KATHY SMITH
You may have found that the Christmas, New Years and Kwanza holidays proved to be a challenge as there were too many temptations at the table. Some of these temptations might have lingered a little longer than you planned. Too many extras and too little physical activity might have caused to you add some extra pounds.
While it may be difficult to pass up the eggnog, fudge and peanut brittle, there are some helpful strategies that you can try that may help you to eat lighter now and continue into 2013.
• Eat an apple. An apple a day does more than keep the doctor away. Studies have found that a person eating an apple 15 minutes before a meal consumed nearly 190 fewer calories. There are similar results from consuming applesauce or apple juice.
• Eat soup. This can replace a meal or eaten prior to your meal to reduce hunger and increase the feeling of being full. A study shows people who ate soup before a meal consumed 100 fewer calories. The soup however, must be water based rather than cream or cheese. Remember that soup toppers such as sour cream or croutons add calories.
• Pace yourself. It is best to have your heavier meals earlier in the day. However, if you eat a larger meal in the evening eat lighter earlier in the day. Avoid skipping breakfast or lunch. Skipping a meal causes your body to starve for calories. This can often cause you to overeat to compensate. A better strategy is to pace yourself throughout the day to have a little less and then you can enjoy those extras later.
• Be picky. Avoid the foods that are available to you any time including nuts, crackers, cheese, candy and other processed foods. Spend your calories on fruits and vegetables that provide valuable nutrients and vitamins and less fats.