Healthy Strategies for the Holiday Party Season

Holiday parties may seem exciting enough to forgo healthy eating, but they aren’t as exciting as sticking to your eating plan and living a longer, healthier life. Work these tips into your party routine so that you can stick to your plan without missing a thing (other than calories you don’t need! Wink, wink).

There are plenty of party foods that are naturally low in calories and seem equally merry. Go for crudités, lean deli meats, chicken kebabs, salsa (instead of using chips, spoon up thicker salsa straight from your plate or with a piece of chicken), steamed asparagus, boiled shrimp, and grapes. On a cheese tray, go for lower-calorie selections such as soft goat cheese and feta, and consider skipping the crackers when eating hard cheeses.

It’s a good idea to have a strategy:

  • Eat your calories: An easy way to cut calories without thinking is just to watch the liquid calories. Each glass of wine can be over 100 calories, and that’s not to mention the spiced or chocolate drinks you may be tempted with on the side. Determine exactly how many glasses you want to enjoy before heading into the party so that you can plan accordingly. A pre-party workout can help you counterbalance a glass or two with little to no damage.
  • Balance is key: Try to balance out your plate with enough vegetables, protein, and whole grains. It helps to load the veggies on your plate first, then protein, so that you’re guaranteed to get enough nutrients without splurging on the first plate of carbohydrates you see. Remember that you can always go back for more.
  • Slow down: Holiday parties can actually help slow the pace of your eating because of all the excitement going on. Think about enjoying the flavors as well as your company with every bite.
  • Don’t save up: A lot of people out there will save their appetite before big nights so that they can enjoy more of the delicious food that’s being offered. Waiting too long to eat will not only send your body into starvation mode, but it will also shrink your stomach so that you feel full sooner when you do start to indulge. Eating throughout the day will maintain insulin levels and combat a possible dinner binge, so try to digest something every three hours.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Their expert team can help you find the perfect solution for you.

Celebrating vegan party at home

What Does Moderation Mean to You?

“Everything in moderation,” says a friend who drinks one glass of wine every day.

“Everything in moderation,” says the personal trainer at the gym as she munches on dry carrot sticks. 

What is moderation? If the concept of moderation confuses you, you’re not alone. Everyone defines it differently. Eating in moderation is a subjective term, meaning something slightly different depending on your perspective. While it’s seemingly a simple question, individual perceptions of reasonable limits would provide a multitude of answers.

At one end of the spectrum, there are those who don’t put much thought into eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. Convenience and taste are the main factors influencing their dietary decisions.

At the opposite end, one may find those who label food as either wholesome and pure or downright evil, with seldom anything in between. Typical “bad” foods such as sugar, carbs, dairy, and processed or refined foods are avoided at all costs.

Both extremes can have detrimental effects on health. Eating calorie-dense foods high in sugar, fat, and salt on a regular basis, combined with a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

However, cutting out entire food groups without replacing missing nutrients can also pose problems. While “clean eating” might come in an attractive package, severe restrictions can lead to cycles of binge eating, feelings of guilt and shame, and further restriction.

Toward which end of the spectrum do you tend to lean? Where is the fine middle ground?

Eating in moderation means you do not consume more calories than your body needs to function properly. A person who does not eat a moderate number of calories gains weight, risking obesity and its associated illnesses.

The quality of the food is also an important factor when talking about eating in moderation. Consuming food your body does not need or want, such as excess sugar and fat has a detrimental effect on your body.

Eating in moderation means consuming nutritionally dense food so your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs without harmful or needless substances. According to the MyPlate scheme from the USDA, a healthy dinner plate contains lean protein, whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables.

Plan your plate to ensure you are eating the proper foods in moderation. Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Fill the left half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Draw another imaginary line to cut the right half of your plate into two quarters. Fill one section with lean meat and put whole-grain products in the other section.

Moderation is about a healthy relationship with food – balancing the pleasure of eating with our basic need for sustenance. It is realizing that eating one piece of cake a week probably won’t kill you, but that doing so everyday just might.

If you are fighting obesity and metabolic disease, schedule a consultation at VIPSURG. Dr. Tsuda and his team of experts can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

Healthy eating habits with fruit

Give Thanks with a Healthy Lifestyle

If you’re trying to live healthily by exercising and eating right, the up-coming holiday season can pose some serious challenges. During any holiday—especially Thanksgiving—people have a lot of food put in front of them. Many times, it is way too much food for even the best of metabolisms to handle without putting on a few pounds. The question is, how do you enjoy the holidays without derailing your health goals?

During Thanksgiving, it’s easy to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined.

Here’s the thing — eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to skip all your favorite foods. If you’ve got your eating under control most of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don’t lose control entirely.

These tips can help you keep your willpower and your wits about you this Thanksgiving:

  • Stick to healthy portions. Fill up half your plate with vegetables, fruit, and a whole wheat roll, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of it with turkey or ham. The more colorful your plate, the better – so get lots of leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers, and beets in your veggie selection. If you fill up on those lower caloric density and higher nutrition things, you’re going to feel full, but not bloated and tired.

It’s a holiday, so indulge a bit if your diet allows it. If you’re going to eat dessert, make sure you allot for the calories elsewhere – don’t go back for that second helping of marshmallow sweet potatoes; instead opt for the cranberry salad.

  • Eat before you indulge. Don’t starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day thinking that you’re saving room or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later. 

If you’re going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure to eat breakfast before. If you’re going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon. You should have your normal meals because whenever we get overly hungry, we tend to overeat.

  • Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones. There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. For mashed potatoes, consider mixing in chicken broth, herbs, or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter. For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-fatty alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad. 
  • Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating. Many times, when people think they are hungry, they are just thirsty. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you’ll lower the risk of overeating. Keep in mind that alcohol not only has lots of calories, but it’s effects can also lower your willpower for keeping to your healthy lifestyle choices.

It’s also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of lazing on the couch. Ultimately, you’ll sleep much better that night if you do a little exercise after eating rather that falling into a food coma.

All of us at VIPSurg wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! We are here to help with your bariatric and general surgery needs.

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey