Your Post-Holiday Nutrition Plan

Just because you fall off the nutritional wagon during the holidays doesn't mean you can't get back on again. And the best way to get back on track isn't to diet; it's to make lifestyle changes: get a good night's sleep, make exercise a part of your daily routine, and choose healthier foods.

Use these tips to create your post-holiday nutrition plan.

Eat Balanced Meals

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2000) suggests that Americans gain, on average, about 1 pound during the winter holiday season. Since this gain isn't reversed during the spring or summer months, it's assumed that the net 1-pound weight gain in the fall and winter contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.

More: Dieting and Weight Loss Action Plan

To maintain a healthy weight, balanced meals and proper hydration are key. Drink water throughout the day, and be sure meals contain complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. This will provide your body with the calories, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong and healthy throughout the rest of the year.

Your balanced meals should include a variety of fruits and vegetables (at least five or more servings per day), whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and low-fat/non-fat dairy. Limit salt, sugar, saturated fat and trans fat. Look for trans fat on the labels of processed foods, margarines and shortenings. These foods are low in nutritional value and usually provide no natural antioxidants, vitamins or minerals. Instead, focus on fresh, whole foods and foods with fewer ingredients.

More: The Truth About Calories, Fat and Fiber

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