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Six Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating By Melanie Deysenroth

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With the holiday season fast approaching, many are concerned about overeating and the potential for weight gain. Some experts say, that the average weight gain over the holidays is one pound. That may not seem like much, but most people don’t lose that pound. If not put in check, it can adds up over the years.

With all of the “oh so tempting” seasonal goodies available, holiday weight gain inevitable? Not so! By following a few tips and enlisting a bit of willpower, you can avoid gaining weight during the holiday season.

1)     First of all, be realistic. Don’t start a weight loss plan during the holidays, and if you are already on one, do your best to maintain your current weight. Sticking with your eating plan and your exercise routine most of the time will go a long way toward warding off that extra poundage.

2)     If you are going to a party, eat a light, healthy snack before heading out. A palm full of dry roasted nuts or one ounce of cheese with a few whole grain crackers, will help curb your appetite. You will be less likely to overeat.

3)     Exercise portion control. This may be a challenge especially at a buffet, where everything looks so tempting.  Just take a small amount of your favorites, avoiding those with rich looking sauces and gravies (do you really need those Swedish meatballs? They probably started as frozen anyway.) Fill half of your plate with veggies and a little fruit for balance.

4)     I read this tip online and it is not something I had ever thought of: At that buffet or potluck, go to the end of the line! That beautifully crusted Au Gratin potatoes or Mac N Cheese does not look as appealing once it has been picked over. Heck! It might even be gone by the time you get there. Studies show that if you wait until near the end, you might actually make better choices. Who knew?

5)     Make a veggie platter for that holiday party, and make the dip with fat free plain Greek yogurt. This wondrous stuff much more closely mimics the texture of full fat sour cream, than reduced or fat free sour cream and tastes great as well. I promise, your guests won’t know the difference. Oh, and stay away from the chips!

6)     Choose your beverages wisely. The empty calories in soda, alcohol and eggnog can add up very quickly. For non alcoholic options, stick with flavored seltzer or sparkling water with lemon or lime, or diet soda if you must. Try a wine spritzer with flavored seltzer, diet lemon-lime soda if you like a little sweetness, and a wedge of lime. Very refreshing, and you can enjoy a bit of alcohol without adding a lot of calories.

In closing, I would just like to add, don’t beat yourself up if you do overindulge. Even the most disciplined among us must cut loose now and then and enjoy the party. Just hop back on the wagon and go lighter on the next meal. And besides, those New Years resolutions are just around the corner!

 

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