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Holiday Food

Avoiding the Holiday Food Ambush

By Dr. L. Lee Coyne, the Healthy Professor

Dr. L. Lee CoyneIf you usually gain unwanted weight over the holidays here are some ways to avoid being ambushed by unwise choices and tempting goodies.  The subtitle might read " Holiday eating with dignity & health”.  To avoid the January panic of trying to lose those unpleasant kilograms before the winter holiday bikini season in warmer places try to spend December eating with grace, strength and forethought for optimal health (which usually means responsible weight management). 

The fallacy with "panic dieting" is it usually leads to long term failure because it sets you up for a faulty metabolic pattern know as Yo-Yo dieting.  A second fallacy of  "panic dieting" is that you cannot lose more than 2 pounds of fat in a single week and if you want the arithmetic and science on this just contact me.

Responsible holiday eating should not be synonymous with boring and difficult deprivation. It merely means that you maintain an awareness of good balance while enjoying good taste.

As many of you know, I am an advocate of a 40 - 30 - 30  (40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat) style of eating, which I refer to as "The Better Balanced Diet".  This not so much a "diet" but rather a way of eating (WOE) and applies to celebration days, special occasions and every day eating.

The simple rules are

  1. Eat some Protein in every meal and every snack - NO EXCEPTIONS. 
  2. Eat some of the protein foods first.

The objective is to control your blood insulin (the fat storage hormone and the anti-fat metabolizing hormone) levels.  Appreciate that protein also controls appetite so you will tend to eat fewer Calories.


  1. Eat cheese before Wine (approximately 1 ounce /4 ounce glass) or sausage or chicken wings before beer (approximately 2 ounces/ 12 ounce bottle)
  2. Eat colourful vegetables (raw if possible) rather than starchy easy-to-mash vegetables or breads, grains and sugary items.
  3. If you stray  - try a "brisk" workout as soon as possible following the insulin-raising incident. Exercise reduces insulin and starts your fat burning mechanisms.
  4. Smoked salmon (4 ounces) on pumpernickel bread with capers and cumbers is a great item.
  5. Want desert? - avoid bread and starch in the main course.
  6. Best appetizers are nuts, seeds, cheese, pâté, baked chicken wings, quality cold meats, cottage cheese and yogurt dips with raw vegetables.
  7. At social functions, view all of the choices before you begin indiscriminate snacking or just filling your plate.  Forward plan.
  8. Anticipate - if there will be no protein offered - pack you own -- cheese, beef jerky etc.
  9. Water with lemon or lime is a good drink and it's insulin neutral.
  10. Avoid deep fried grease, cheap oils, an all margarines, Don't be afraid of good fats - avocadoes, unsalted nuts, seeds, cold pressed oils. You need good fat to metabolize other fats and build hormones.
  11. Did you know that 8 ounces of commercial eggnog is 600 Calories but three 4-ounce glasses of wine is 250 to 270 Calories?  If you eat 1 ounce of cheese (80 - 120 Calories) for each glass of wine the Calorie count is similar or less but you are less likely to eat or drink that much because the cheese will control your appetite. 

Following some of these WOE tips can lead to a life in the WOW (world of wellness). 

Happy Holidays.


Lee Coyne, Ph.D. is a nutritional consultant, lecturer and author of Fat Won't Make You Fat and the Lean Seekers coaching program. He may be reached at 1-800-668-4042 or by e-mail