How to avoid packing on holiday pounds

We’re entering the season for family get-togethers, fun and feasting — lots of it. But you can still maintain your weight, while enjoying the festivities.

“Any food can fit into your healthy eating plan with practice and planning,” says Marta Wright, a registered dietician with Kettering Weight Loss Solutions. “While weight gain over the holidays may not be significant, as most people tend to gain only one to two pounds, this is typically the weight that we keep from year to year.”

Wright says there are a number of things you can so to avoid holiday weight gain.

Exercise

Food is everywhere so be sure to maintain an exercise routine to keep your calorie output under control. If you can’t do your normal activity at least increase your activity by taking the stairs, cleaning more around the house, walking around the block, parking farther away from your office, or anything to help burn some calories. “Exercise is also a great stress reliever,” notes Wright. “We know the holidays can be a stressful time for people.”

Choose food and drink wisely

Survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide which foods are worth eating and which you can ignore and stick to your decision. If you want to sample more, take only a small portions, eat slowly, and savor the flavors. “Why waste calories on foods that you won’t enjoy as much?” Wright says. She also recommends that you drink all low-calorie or no-calorie beverages to avoid more wasted calories.

Eat something at home

Don’t go to a party hungry, you are more likely to overeat. “Eat a light, healthy snack at home,” advises Wright. “It will help you avoid the temptation to overindulge in higher-calorie, higher-fat foods.”

Lower calories, smaller portions and plates

If you are a guest, plan to bring a lower calorie dish to share. If you are the host, prepare some lower calorie alternatives. “It is okay to cook the bird with the skin on it, but don’t eat the skin to save on those fat calories,” advises Wright. Eat white meat – it is lower in calories and fat. Wright suggests you use small plates so it looks like you have more food.

Stay away from the table

Do not hang out near the food table before or after the holiday feast. If you do, says Wright, you may be inclined to graze. “If you think you want to go back for seconds, wait 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry. If you are, then get more food and walk away.”

“Just because foods are low fat, low sugar or low calorie does not mean that they do not taste good, says Wright. “Open your mind, be creative, enjoy your food and family, and have fun.”

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