It’s the holidays and you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself! Problem is, you’re reading all these blogs about how fattening eggnog is, about how you’ll have to borrow Santa’s pants after the string of holiday soirees you’ve got lined up.
Today, I’d like to bring you a little good cheer, to tell you about three holiday foods that might actually help you lose weight. Cue: Little Drummer Boy… Drumroll, please.
—Nicci Micco, M.S.
Various studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner than those who don’t, and a recent Harvard study revealed that nuts are a top food for driving weight loss. Pistachios, in particular, are a great choice: a 1-ounce serving (157 calories) contains a generous 49 nuts. The ones you have to shell yourself are even better, as removing the shells slows you down and seeing evidence of what you’ve eaten may prevent you from reaching in for more. In a recent study out of Eastern Illinois University, people who were given unshelled pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those offered nuts with the shells already removed.
A 2010 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that, over nearly 13 years, women who consumed light to moderate amounts of alcohol gained less weight and were less likely to become overweight. One theory: women may sip a glass of wine in place of a high-cal dessert.
But here’s the thing—having one glass of wine (120 calories) in place of a 400-calorie dessert will save you calories. Having several glasses of wine in addition to that dessert or two you couldn’t resist because you were a little tipsy, not so much.
And speaking of dessert…
If it’s something sweet you prefer, go for it, straight away. Savoring a small treat each day won’t sabotage your weight-loss efforts, says new research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Keep your treat to about 150 calories—that’s about two squares of dark chocolate, for instance—and make room for those calories by cutting back elsewhere.