DR. WALLACE: We’re well into the holiday season and I’ve got several gatherings to attend with friends and family. I’ve done a decent job of watching my weight this entire year, but I’m concerned right now that within the next two to three weeks I could undo all the gains I’ve worked hard to achieve this year.
I’ll likely see a lot of turkey and snacks put in front of me, given the places I’ll be visiting. Can I eat as much turkey as I want, since it’s lean protein? I tend to stay away from steaks and hamburgers and I’m guessing turkey is a safe bet.
Also, there are sure to be many holiday snacks to tempt me. I love peanuts, popcorn and candy equally. I know enough to stay away from the candy, but if I have a choice between the other two, which is better for me to keep the extra pounds off? — Navigating the Holiday Menus, via email
NAVIGATING THE HOLIDAY MENUS: You’re correct that turkey in general is going to be leaner than a hamburger, but it does matter which type of turkey you eat. The dark meat has about twice the fat content of white meat.
As to the snacks, if you can obtain plain popcorn, that will be better for your weight than the peanuts will. As long as butter is absent from your popcorn, you can consider that a quite healthy snack. Popcorn is high in fiber and low in calories. Peanuts, on the other hand, are a great source of protein but a handful of just 20 peanuts adds up to roughly 200 calories!
It pays to keep your eyes and mind tuned into the small details if you wish to limit your calorie intake, especially at this time of year. If you’re able to load up on fruit and vegetable dishes and avoid calorie-laden desserts, you can enjoy the season in a manner that will protect the progress you’ve worked hard this year to achieve.
HE JUST POURED HIMSELF A DRINK!
DR. WALLACE: I brought a teammate of mine over to our house the other day after school. I’m a junior in high school and this guy is a senior who is a big sports star at our school. I also play on the team but I’m more of what is called a “role player” than a star player.
Anyhow, this guy noticed that my father has a well-stocked liquor cabinet that includes some expensive Scotch whisky. I was shocked when he went into our kitchen, opened a cupboard, took out a glass, went to our refrigerator, put some ice cubes in the glass and then returned to the liquor cabinet and poured himself a large glass of my father’s aged scotch!
He told me I should get a glass too, but I told him I didn’t want to. He drank it and said, “Man, that’s good stuff!”
I was too shocked to stop him or to say much at all. I was able to get him out of the house right afterward, which gave me time to wash that glass thoroughly, clean up and put everything back the way it was before.
My problem is now about once a week this guy asks me to come over to my house after school. I keep making up excuses and I’m worried he’ll figure out that I don’t want him to come back because I’m afraid I’ll get into trouble. What should I do? — Another Player on the Team, via email
ANOTHER PLAYER ON THE TEAM: I suggest that you just tell this guy that you can’t have anyone over to your house after school and that what he did was unacceptable. You don’t want to be party to taking your father’s possessions and you don’t want this teammate leaving your family home under the influence of alcohol, ever.
It may be uncomfortable for you but cut him off socially. Be a good teammate to everyone on your team including him during practices and games, but do not extend your relationship with him beyond that point. What he chooses to do with his free time should be his business and his responsibility, not yours.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.