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November 12, 2008 > Indulge in Moderation and Savor the Sweetness of the Season

Indulge in Moderation and Savor the Sweetness of the Season

Washington Hospital Seminar Offers Tips for Enjoying Guilt-Free Holidays

The holiday season is in the air, and soon it will be filled with the smell of baking pie, roasted turkey and so many other temptations. Let's face it; the eating season is almost here. But you don't have to succumb to overindulgence to have a good time. This year, learn how to stay guilt-free over the holidays while savoring the season.

"Find out how to avoid what we call the 'seasonal seven' - the seven pounds the average American gains over the holidays," said Kim Alvari, a registered dietitian at Washington Hospital who will present an upcoming seminar "Keeping Guilt-Free for the Holidays."

Part of the Washington Women's Center's monthly Evening Lecture Series, the seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Washington Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. For more information or to reserve a space, call (510) 608-1301.

"In reality, the holidays are only a few actual days, but it's all those days in between that become a problem," Alvari said. "People bring candies and other goodies to work and school between Thanksgiving and New Years. But you don't have to use the holidays as an excuse to overindulge."

She will provide tips for surviving the holidays guilt-free that include planning, staying active and eating in moderation.

Make a plan. Decide what is important to you during the holidays and make a plan. With work commitments, parties, special events and family gatherings, there is a lot going on during the holidays. Be realistic and plan ahead which events you will attend this year.

"See what the month of December looks like for you," Alvari said. "If you are attending a number of events, one way to plan ahead is by 'banking' calories. If you eat less for a few days before the event, you can consume a few extra calories at the party without getting into trouble. Adding in some extra workouts can also help."

Stay active. Make sure your schedule includes plenty of physical activity. The holidays are no time to cut back on exercise. And if you aren't physically active now, this is a good time to start by walking regularly, parking your car far from the entrance of shopping malls and grocery stores, and taking the stairs whenever possible.

You can also plan fun outings that involve physical activity like ice skating or taking an evening stroll around your neighborhood to see the holiday lights and displays.

Moving your body not only improves your waistline, it also helps reduce the stress that often accompanies the holidays.

Eat and drink in moderation. You don't have to deprive yourself, but you do need to be conscious of what you are eating and drinking.

Alvari urges people to think about how much they like something before they put it in their mouths. She says we often get caught up in social events and consume food and beverages because they are available and not because we are hungry or are particularly fond of them.

"Eggnog, for example, can be 400 calories a glass depending on the recipe," Alvari said. "Make sure you really like eggnog before you pour yourself a cup because you may find it's not worth the calories."

She will also share a number of tips and recipes for lighter dips, appetizers and sweet treats so there are healthier options to enjoy. If you are invited to a party, offer to bring something and take a lighter alternative so you have something less fattening to eat.

"There are a number of tricks for making foods healthier, even baked goods," she said. "For example, you can use applesauce as a substitute for oil and butter."

Participants will also get hands-on experience by preparing a lighter cookie mix that uses half the amount of chocolate chips but still tastes great. They will be able to take home the glass jar they fill with the mix.

"This seminar is chocked full of ideas to savor the season while avoiding the seasonal seven," Alvari said. "You will walk away with the tools you need to enjoy yourself without overdoing it."

To learn more about keeping guilt-free for the holidays, attend the seminar on Tuesday, November 18. To reserve a space, call (510) 608-1301.

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