URBANA, Ill. – If you think that a five-pound weight gain is inevitable during the holiday season, you’re wrong. It’s a myth, said Mary Liz Wright, a University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator.
“Actually, according to the National Institute of Health, http://www.nichd.nih.gov, the average American gains just under one pound between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Wright said.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of us never lose that one pound, she said, and if we are overweight, we are more likely to gain five or more pounds during the holiday season.
“What causes this weight gain, you ask? Is it the never-ending parade of goodies brought by well-intentioned co-workers? Is it the lack of sleep caused by too many late-night parties or the time you spend putting some-assembly-required gifts together?” Wright asked.
All of those can be a factor, but the biggest culprit may be our tendency to avoid the gym when we need it the most. A hectic holiday schedule can wreak havoc on a would-be exerciser with the best possible intentions. So what’s a person to do?
Wright offers her top 10 ways of avoiding holiday weight gain:
Extension publications Altering Recipes (NCR473) and Adjusting Recipes to Meet Dietary Guidelines (University of Nebraska Extension EC 442) offer these helpful hints when baking for the holidays.
Finally, Wright offers this healthier version of a classic recipe, gleaned from the American Diabetes Association.
Serving size: 1 slice
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups Splenda® no-calorie sweetener, granulated
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories from fat: 45
Total fat: 5g
Saturated fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Sodium: 240 mg
Total carbohydrate: 30 g
Dietary fiber: 1g
Sugar: 13 g
Protein: 3 g
“Take these tips to heart and your heart will be merry but your tummy a little less jiggly after the holidays this year,” Wright said.