This is the time of year that many of us look forward to celebrating the holidays with family and friends. And with the holidays comes a focus on traditions that have been passed down through the years – many of those involve food! If you’re like many families who create special recipes and menus especially during the holidays, it can be easy to overindulge on those treats you enjoy just once a year. To help curb those cravings, follow these eight tips to help you avoid the worry of holiday weight gain:

  1. Don’t skip meals 
    Haven’t we all done this before? “I’m going to skip breakfast on Thanksgiving so I can save room for the bigger meal at lunch.” Seems to make sense to save your calories for that meal; however, if you eat a light snack before leaving for your party or family gathering, you will be less tempted to overindulge.
  2. Be realistic 
    With so many gatherings involving food among family, friends and co-workers during this busy month, be realistic about not trying to lose a lot of weight during the holidays. Instead, focus on maintaining your current weight.
  3. Eat your favorite foods only 
    Before filling your plate, scan the buffet table. Find your favorite foods and stick with them. Skip your least favorite foods. Be sure to include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  4. Plan time for exercise 
    The busyness of December can be maddening, and all the hustle and bustle can lead to holiday stress. Make sure to carve out time for exercise to relive some of that stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. This can be as minimal as a 15-minute brisk walk twice a day.
  5. Eat until you’re satisfied 
    Savor your favorites while eating smaller portions and without stuffing yourself.
  6. Watch your beverages 
    Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating. Some non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
  7. Practice your own healthy holiday dishes 
    Bring your own healthy dish to a gathering. Preparing dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating.
  8. Spend time doing activities vs. eating food 
    Take the focus off food this year. With the time that you would normally spend delving into your favorite recipes, spend some of that time doing projects like making wreaths, homemade ornaments or a gingerbread house. Or start a new tradition with your family by serving a holiday meal to the community, going ice skating, playing games or go on a walking tour of the decorated homes in your neighborhood.

Enjoy the holidays with the ones you love. Allow these tips to be a guideline for ways to stay healthy this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

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