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Keep off the holiday weight

Don't make the holidays an excuse to forget all about healthy eating and over indulge, advises DrAnjali Mukherjee.
Hindustan Times | By Dr Anjali Mukherjee, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 03, 2008 06:53 PM IST

Holidays are not only synonymous with pleasure trips, family reunions and leisurely spent days, but also with super-rich foods, overindulgence, and lower activity levels.

All of these add up to some dreaded holiday weight. But excess weight doesn't have to be one of the souvenirs you bring back. In fact, with a little planning, your holiday can actually help to boost your diet and fitness plan.

Whether you're cooking, eating at local restaurants or have opted for a meals included package, you can always make your holiday an excuse to try out new nutritious foods that you haven't tasted before.

To give you a helping hand, here are some guidelines you can follow: ? Try to roughly plan your days in advance. If you're planning a long, leisurely lunch, then aim to have a smaller dinner. Or if you're going to try the ‘eat-all-you-can-eat' buffet for dinner, have soup and salads or a grilled foods for lunch. ?

Aim to stick to the same healthy rules you follow at home. Avoid fried food, fill up on fresh fruit and vegetables, base your meals on whole grains (no maida-based rumali rotis and naans), and keeping fatty and sugary foods to a minimum. Cut fats by avoiding thick sauces, rich salad dressings and cream soups. ?

Lack of activity is a major cause of weight gain during holidays. Do some light exercise in your room - push- ups, sit-ups, and marching spot don't require you to put on exercise clothes and trek to the gym.

Try water sports - water-skiing, jet skiing, surfing and paragliding - that are fun ways to get yourself moving. If you're by the sea, rent a snorkel and mask. You'll enjoy looking at underwater scenery and will burn about 210 calories in 30 minutes.?

Don't go hungry all day so you can "afford" the calories at the party later. That way you'll only end up eating more than usual, forgetting all about moderation and control.

Eat healthy meals at regular intervals to avoid going overboard.

Drink plenty of bottled water while travelling. This will help to fill you up and also will keep you from feeling fatigued.

If you're holidaying near the coast, opt for fish and seafood that not only tastes delicious but is also high in nutrients. Seafood is a source of protein, fats and oils, vitamins, minerals, and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Keep in mind that added sauces or toppings can significantly increase the overall fat and cholesterol content. Also, steer clear of fried shellfish and opt instead for broiled, steamed or grilled versions.

Know your weak foods (pizzas and pastries) and avoid them.

If you've succumbed, try to make up for it with something positive (eat more veggies next meal, go for a walk, do extra pushups, etc.)

Choose desserts carefully - fresh fruit salad and unsweetened yoghurt are okay .

If you can't resist a few cocktails, avoid those with cream-based liqueurs, cream, coconut milk and syrupy fruit purees. Choose those with lower-cal ingredients like fresh fruits, lime or tomato juice.

Pack some healthy, tasty snacks so that you're not tempted to buy higher-fat snacks. Plus it's save money .

Skip extras like the butter and roll that come with in-flight meals.

Successfully maintaining your weight is a lot about good planning, especial ly during the holiday season.

Don't make your holiday an excuse to forget about healthy eating.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total. You can send in your queries to query@

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