Semien: Healthy holiday eating is possible

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

You’ve heard it time and time again: All things in moderation.

Never is this truer than during the holidays. With all of the parties comes the all-too-real possibility of overeating.

Ever wonder why people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight? In part, it’s because we tend to overdo it during the holidays, eating foods that we’d normally avoid in favor of healthier choices. Because “Hey! It’s a celebration! Calories don’t count!”

Except they do.

What can you do to avoid packing on pounds at end-of-the-year gatherings?

Strategize now to stay slim during the holidays.

Plan Ahead

If you know you’re going to be making the rounds at multiple holiday gatherings and parties consider having a healthy snack at home – before you hit the party circuit. If you show up at a gathering starving, you’re far more likely to make poor choices, and overeat.

Say “No” to Fatty Foods

Many traditional holiday and party foods are loaded with fats, including creamy dips and cheeses. If you can’t resist a helping of high-calorie, high-fat casserole, allow yourself just a few bites.

Load Up on Veggies

At almost every holiday party, there is at least one tray filled with fresh vegetables and, sometimes, fresh fruit. These are without a doubt your best healthy options, so load up your plate with these items first. Also, skip the dip. Most dips are loaded with extra calories. Hummus is an excellent, healthy, low-fat and low-calorie option, as is veggie salsa.

Forget Fried Foods

Fried foods are loaded with flavor, so the urge to binge is understandable. But if you want something equally satisfying, and healthier, go for high-protein, low-fat items like shrimp cocktail, roasted turkey, grilled chicken, or Swedish meatballs instead.

Avoid Alcohol

Another thing to skip (or limit): adult beverages. Many holiday drinks, including eggnog, hot cider, and fancy mixed cocktails are loaded with empty calories. Stick to light cocktails or spritzers, which tend to have less calories, or drink non-alcoholic beverages.

Get Moving

The holiday dinner table or party spread doesn’t have to be a battlefield. You can and should enjoy a few indulgences – but don’t overdo it. Prepare now for the holiday season. Why not increase your exercise routine a bit? Exercising certainly helps stave off weight gain, but it also helps lower stress levels – which tend to soar around the holidays.

The Fitness Center of Thibodaux Regional offers many ways to exercise, all in a state-of-the-art facility.

Features include cardio and strength training machines and equipment, an indoor walking and jogging track, and a lap swimming pool.

The Center also offers group exercise classes like yoga and Pilates, water aerobics, Zumba® and more.

To learn more, call 985-493-4950, or visit

Jamie Semien, MHA, is the fitness manager at Fitness Center of Thibodaux Regional. For more information, call 985-493-4950.