Michele Cuellar provides nutrition counseling at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital in Humble.
Q: Winter holidays are a time for family get-togethers — and a lot of big meals. How can we eat right while enjoying our holiday favorites?
Q: Shopping makes us tired and weary, and we give in to pumpkin lattes and peppermint milkshakes. Are treats OK in moderation?
A: The holidays can be a fun time to enjoy visiting with friends and family, but we need to be mindful about our food choices if we want to prevent the two- to five-pound weight gain from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
When you are socializing during the holidays, enjoy the time with others and be careful not to indulge in high-calorie and high-fat appetizers or entrees. Try to limit going through the buffet line to only one time. Try to fill up on a salad or vegetables first. If there are lots of different foods you would like to try, get small servings of each. Skip the fried foods and limit gravies and sauces, which can add extra calories and fat to your consumption.
When socializing, try not to position yourself right in front of the food table because if you are not careful, you might get so caught up conversing with others that you’re not aware of mindless eating.
A: If you know that you will be doing lots of shopping and will be eating on the run, try to eat a lighter meal prior to the event, incorporating lean meats, high-fiber grains, fruits and vegetables.
One thing to remember is to eat in moderation, but not to skip meals. When we skip meals, we are most likely to grab high-calorie, high-fat foods because of feeling hungry.
Q: What issues do people face the most when overeating during the holidays?
A: To help prevent weight gain during the holidays, we also need to incorporate exercise into our day. This could consist of brisk walking or even parking our car a little farther from your destination to get more walking in and burn calories. About 10,000 steps per day is recommended.
, which is equal to five miles. Having a pedometer can help someone track this number. Working out also can help relieve stress from all the extra responsibilities people have preparing for get-togethers this time of year. Also, spending time with friends or family, going for a walk or playing a sport together, can be fun and helpful to burn some calories from these elaborate meals that we will be consuming.
So to be successful in maintaining weight and not gaining during this upcoming holiday season, it will take some planning, but it can be done. Enjoy this time and remember: Being mindful of what you are eating and drinking can help prevent extra pounds from piling on ahead of that New Year’s resolution.
Michele Cuellar, dietitian
Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital, 18951 Memorial North Drive, Humble
More than 20 years as a registered dietitian; worked more than 14 years with patients with eating disorders and emotional eating issues
Bachelor’s degree from Ohio University; master’s in nutrition from Texas Woman’s University