10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

12.25.14 / Comment

Melissa Enos, Nutrition Communication Intern

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The holiday season may be full of good food and watching the snowfall as you snuggle on the couch, but don’t let your healthy habits slide down the chimney to the bottom of your priority list. You can deck the halls without waking up in the New Year regretting your past month’s indulgences. By following these 10 simple tips, you can avoid the shock of stepping on the scale come January 1st. This year your resolution won’t be to shed the pounds that piled on during the month of December, so start thinking of other things to improve on.                                                                                                                                                                                      

1.  Mindful Eating

Be aware of your physical hunger and satiety cues to help guide you’re eating decisions, when to begin and when to finish eating.  Its helpful to never arrive to the party or holiday meal hungry. If you show up to a holiday party with your stomach rumbling, you’re likely to binge on foods you wouldn’t normally crave. Eat a filling snack before you leave your house such as fat free yogurt with a handful of nuts, or an apple with a serving of natural peanut butter. Listen to your satiety cues when you feel full that is the time to realize you can stop eating.                                                                                                            

2. Choose the Smallest Plate

Grabbing a large plate is a recipe for disaster when you’re surrounded by delicious, yet fatty foods. Go for the smallest size available and don’t layer. By following this simple tip, you can avoid piling on excess calories that your body doesn’t need.

3.  Be Picky

Load up on veggies and lay off the desserts and fatty dips. Be specific with what you put on your plate. If it’s a special dessert a friend or family member only makes once a year, then go ahead and have a small serving to satisfy your craving.

4.   Set Limits on Alcohol

There is nothing wrong with having a social cocktail or glass of wine on a special occasion, but the calories in alcohol add up and may be more than you realize. Before you go out, set a limit of one or two drinks for yourself and stick to your commitment. If you feel uncomfortable without a drink in your hand, sip on sparkling water instead.

5.  Out of Sight Out of Mind

Don’t stand next to the food table. If you have the food in front of you, you’re more likely to keep going back for more. Step away from the table and talk with others without the food in sight and you’ll forget all about the creamy cheese dip in the next room over.

6. Stay Hydrated!

Sip water after ever few bites of food that you have, this gives your body a few moments to recognize fullness and prevents over eating. Allow your body to digest a bit and you’ll find yourself feeling less bloated and overstuffed. Water also aids in digestion and speeds up your metabolism and increases your ability to burn fat, so sip away!

7.  Limit Tasting During Cooking

A little bite of truffles here and a little taste of cookie dough there doesn’t seem like it could do much harm, but over time the snacking can add up. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, the not so harmless bites are unfortunately still filled with fat and calories. This applies to if you’re cooking dishes rather than desserts, you should still limit you’re tasting to avoid filling up before the meal.

8. Stock Up on Tupperware

If you’re hosting a holiday event this season, you may want to double check that all of your Tupperware containers have lids because you’ll need them. Holiday leftovers are the scrooges of the healthy food realm. It’s okay to make some of your favorite dishes on the holidays, but send them home with your guests! If they’re in your fridge the next day, you’re more likely to eat them and sadly the calories haven’t disappeared overnight.

9.  Cut Calories To Compensate

Do you have a party on the schedule for later on in the week? Plan to cut calories in other ways to avoid over eating the day of. If you’re having a salad with grilled chicken sprinkled with feta and a side of soup, skip the feta and the soup. Say you usually have a sandwich and veggies for lunch, stick to a light dressing and only have half the sandwich. Rely on lean proteins and foods high in fiber to help you stay fuller for longer. I promise you’ll feel less guilty about the o so irresistible snowman cupcake at the party that was just too cute to pass up.

10.  Stay Active!

Keeping your heart rate up for just twenty minutes a day can help burn up to 200 calories. If you still have some last minute shopping to do, pass up online shopping and get to the mall. While you’re their, hit the stairs and skip out on the elevator or escalator. If you’re standing in line waiting to purchase your items, do some discrete calf raises (I promise nobody will notice). Just try to keep moving this holiday season!

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