Slim Your Holidays

You can indulge without the bulge!

You can indulge without the bulge!

Tis’ the season when the gatherings of gifts and friends can cut into our exercise time and layer on extra calories.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  You only need to make a few conscious choices to get through the holidays unscathed.  The key is to decide now what your eating and exercise rules will be for this month.  Here are some tips to help you out…

Make time to move. 

If you’re going to be eating more, you don’t want to be moving less.  Decide right now how you will fit exercise into your day.  Can you walk 15 minutes after dinner?  Will you park farther away and take the stairs?  How about some dancing?  Or, maybe some push-ups? (see postscript below).

Veg out at parties.

Choose raw veggies over other appetizers.  Salsa or hummus with a few tortilla/pita chips is another good choice. Try eating a light meal before going to a party to take the edge off your appetite.  If your festivities include a buffet, always fill your plate with veggies first.

Wash down every four with eight.

Whenever you drink an alcoholic beverage (4 ounces), be sure to follow it with 8 ounces of water.  Maybe you’ll want to make spritzers with champagne or wine or choose low-fat eggnog.  Just remember to wash them down with a cup of water. Drink alcoholic beverages only with meals or after you’ve eaten since alcohol increases your appetite and decreases your ability to make conscious choices.

Eat one sweet a day to keep the fluff away.

Baked goodies are probably the biggest temptation of the season (besides See’s Candies, of course!), and your plan of attack should be moderation.  Allow yourself one sweet a day from the edible gifts you receive and eat it preferably as your dessert rather than a passing-by swoop.

Take a little time right now to come up with three rules you can live by this holiday season.  Let them be the gift you give yourself.

Speaking of gifts, I love to share homemade goodies during the holidays.  Here is one of my favorites, Chocolate Hazelnut Meringues (which I like to call Angel Whiffs for Christmas).  They’re light & crunchy, and only have 14 calories.

Chocolate Hazelnut Meringues (aka “Angel Whiffs”)

¼ cup hazelnuts

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sugar

¼ cup dark chocolate, grated or coarsely chopped

1.     Toast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Let cool and coarsely chop nuts.

2.     Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees for baking the meringues.

3.     Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

4.     In a large bowl combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla.  Beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

5.     Slowly add the sugar to the egg mixture, one tablespoon at a time, while beating.  Beat until all of the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is stiff and glossy.

6.     Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate and nuts.

7.     Drop by slightly rounded teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets, allowing at least one inch between cookies.

8.     Bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.  Leaving the meringues in the oven, turn the oven off and allow cookies to sit for at least one hour, until they are completely dry and crisp. (I leave mine in the oven overnight.)

9.     Remove from oven and store in airtight containers.

Yields 5 dozen meringues.

Nutrition info per cookie: 14 calories; 2 grams carbohydrate; .25 grams protein; .5 grams fat.

About Annette Cain

Annette Cain is an award-winning author, endurance athlete and certified personal trainer.

Known as the Longevity Lady™ Annette helps baby boomers age stronger so their bodies can keep up with their lives. Her ageless lifestyle products and programs provide an easy and balanced approach to becoming lean & limber and living younger longer.

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