Keiser University Nutrition Expert Shares: Top Tips to Avoid Holiday Handles

Professor Julie Snyder - 7-2016

As Americans struggle to prevent the perennial pouch, Keiser University Sports Medicine and Fitness Technology Professor Julie Snyder shares there are steps we can take to avoid this pitfall. Helpful hints include:

  • Think before you eat. Every food item or beverage that you put into your body will have an effect – ask yourself, “is this item going to nourish my body, or hurt my body?” Foods and beverages that nourish our bodies will give us energy to exist and the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for our body to function.  Processed foods are those that have been altered in any way during their preparation. Quite often, they have gone through mechanical or chemical operations to change or preserve the item. While these items might appeal to our palate, the nutritional value is often destroyed or altered thus resulting in empty calories that are the downfall of our ever-expanding obese nation.  With two thirds of the American population being overweight or obese, the quality of foods chosen has never been more important.


  • Then there is the quantity.  When foods are offered in large quantities, it can be a challenge not to over-indulge. There are some tips that may be of value – tip one is to choose a smaller sized plate for your selection.  For instance, choose a lunch plate at dinner rather than a dinner plate.  You will be happy you did later.  Secondly, drink plenty of water before a meal and during a meal.  This will serve to hydrate you and fill your stomach.


  • Food choices.  Did you ever notice the bountiful colors that appear on a plate that includes various fruits and vegetables?  The vibrancy of the greens, blues, red, orange, yellows are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are also packed with heart-healthy vitamins and minerals.  So, why should you choose veggies and fruits?  Here are some compelling facts:


          • Fruits and vegetables contain few calories per serving, so you can load up on them without expanding your waistline.  For instance, one regular sized vegetable such as an apple contains roughly 100 calories.  A daily diet high in vegetables and fruits grown in nutrient dense soils does wonders in filling us up and ensuring that we do not overindulge on lower quality sugary or processed foods.


          • These choices are packed with nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Not only does that apple contain an abundant amount of fiber, but it is also extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytonutrients – all which are critical ingredients for not only boosting the immune system and fighting off the oxidation process, but also the inflammation of neurons.  Apples, like many other fruits and vegetables, also contain Vitamins C, B complex which are both water-soluble vitamins and must be replenished daily.  Other great choices of fruits and vegetables include squash, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, radish, avocado, pomegranate, cranberries, cherries, dragon fruit, grapefruit, and more.


          • Ever try herbs and lemon on top of salads rather than the “empty calorie” processed salad dressings?  These are a great choice, as is extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Coconut oil is also a great oil to use as it is packed with the essential fatty acids that may help reduce inflammation in the body, eye health, and a plethora of other benefits.


  • Limit night-time eating. Many empty calories can be consumed after during those late-night hours and in an overabundance.  Just say, No!  Remember, it only takes 3,500 calories to equal one pound, and that can easily be had in one late night trip to a fast-food restaurant with friends.


  • Get physically active.  Since holidays are often the source of many additional parties and “goodies to share”, we must be diligent that if we are consuming additional calories, we also need to burn those calories.  Get up, get moving!  Your body and mind will thank you for it. Nothing helps keep the circulation to the brain going better than a nice brisk 30-minute walk or jog.

So, by following these tips, will you be able to avoid putting on additional holiday weight?  Chances are, without adding or maintaining physical activity during the holidays, you will probably put on a couple pounds BUT following these tips will certainly help you win the “battle of the holiday bulge”!


About Professor Snyder

As University Department Chair of Sport Medicine and Fitness Technology and Exercise Science based at Keiser University’s West Palm Beach Flagship Campus, Snyder developed the curriculum, managed and oversaw the management, program operation and revision of the Sports Medicine and Fitness Technology and Exercise Science program in 14 Keiser University campuses. Her latest endeavor has been to develop and manage Keiser University’s Equestrian Programs.


As Owner and Creator of “Fit to Ride,” a fitness training business, she established, marketed, and managed the first equestrian fitness training program designed specifically to meet the needs of South Carolina’s riding enthusiasts. A certified ACE Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, Snyder holds a Master of Science degree in Education from the University of Miami with a focus on sports, health and athletic training.


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