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How to avoid holiday weight gain

Prevent holiday weight gain with these helpful tips from Sally Brozek, MS, RD, LD, CDE, a registered dietitian at Piedmont.

"There are many opportunities during the holidays for overeating," says Brozek. "When we are busy and overcommitted, that's when our healthy habits fall off. The longer we are off track, the harder it is to get back on."

1. Plan ahead

"Just knowing there will be plenty of 'high-risk' moments for overeating is a good start," she says.

Brozek recommends preparing for holiday social gatherings having a light, healthy snack before you leave home or the office.

2. Fill your plate with veggies 

"Start by filling your plate with non-starchy vegetables," Brozek recommends. "They are low-calorie and vey filling."

Non-starchy vegetables include:

  • Asparagus

  • Cauliflower

  • Cucumbers

  • Mushrooms

  • Onions

  • Peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Celery

  • Spinach, lettuce and other greens

3. Splurge on truly special treats

It's okay to treat yourself during the holidays, but make sure your splurge is worth it.

"Don’t waste calories on foods at the buffet that you eat often and are familiar with," she says. "Take small servings of richer, high calorie foods you eat infrequently."   

Think about it: Would you rather have a roll with butter or a slice of homemade pie?

4. Watch your alcohol intake

Alcoholic beverages contain calories and the more you drink, the lower your inhibitions, which makes you more prone to mindless munching.

"Pace yourself with a calorie-free beverage in between the alcoholic ones," recommends Brozek.

5. Share food strategically

If you plan to bring a dish to a party, make it something light and nutritious, like a veggie plate with hummus or a fruit tray with yogurt dip.

"If you're the host, send the leftovers home with guests so you aren't tempted to overindulge after they leave," adds Brozek.

6. Out of sight, out of mind

The old adage "out of sight, out of mind," is key to avoiding enticing holiday treats.

"Don't keep tempting foods where they are visible at home," she says. "Hide them in a cabinet."

7. Embrace balance

You don't have to restrict yourself to prevent holiday weight gain. Instead, seek balance each day.

"If you know you’re having a heavy holiday lunch, have a lighter breakfast or maybe a mid-morning snack," suggests Brozek.

8. Get moving 

"It's never a bad idea to work in an extra walk on days you know you may splurge. This can offset the high calorie intake," she says. "Be as active as possible: Take stairs instead of the elevator and park far from your office door."

For more nutrition tips, click here.

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