Diets can be intimidating, but you can take control one meal at a time, according to experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
"It all starts with breakfast," said Molly Gee, a registered dietitian at BCM. "This is a great opportunity to set a healthier agenda for the day. Incorporate whole grains and reduce the fat by using low fat or skim milk."
For the rest of the day, it's important to eat colorful foods to maximize health. A rainbow-colored assortment of foods may help get in more fruits and vegetables.
"You have to treat each meal as a separate eating event," said Gee. "It's not over if you eat one super sized meal, you simply have to balance out your next meals."
According to Gee, skipping a meal and putting yourself in the deprivation mode is a bad strategy. "There's no need to punish yourself. You may end up overcompensating at your next meal and eating even more calories," said Gee.
One of the biggest temptations is eating out, but Gee offers some tips to enjoy your favorite restaurant foods as well.
"One simple strategy is to ask for the sauce or gravy on the side to cut out a few hundred calories or more," said Gee.
Control those large restaurant portions by asking for a to-go box to with the entrée, and putting half of the food aside immediately. Sharing an entree is a way to cut calories in half.
"You can create your own customized dinner at a restaurant," said Gee. "Pair up an appetizer with a soup or salad. Ask for the lunch portion even at dinnertime. Substitute the French fries that come with an entrée with the vegetable of the day."
Gee emphasizes taking control of your meals and making your requests known, but she also stresses that this is not the time to be sedentary. Maintaining physical activity during the holiday season is a must.
"It's not just the energy in, but also the energy out," said Gee.