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9 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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healthy holiday eating Standing in line at the coffee shop this morning, I overheard an interesting exchange between two female customers:

“I hate this time of year. I’ll gain a ton of weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.”

“Me too! Every day at work, people are sharing their homemade goodies…and the parties! Not to mention my kids are always bugging me to bake Christmas cookies.”

You may be relieved to hear that it’s actually okay to gain a little weight in the winter, according to the experts. But, there’s a catch (as you knew there would be)!

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If you’re gaining more than 2 pounds, that’s probably too much, says nutritionist Jim Severino.* (And with winter holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, 2 pounds can accumulate pretty quickly.)

Enjoy what you eat, but watch your portions, advises Severino. It’s not always what you’re eating but how much.

9 Strategies to Avoid Gaining Weight This Holiday Season

Other than practicing portion control, here are some healthy eating tips to keep in mind this season:

1. Pack Snacks

Heading out for a day of holiday shopping? If you think you’ll be gone a long time, be sure to pack a snack so you won’t be tempted to eat out more than you should.

2. Check Nutrition Labels

In the grocery store, look for products that are lower in sodium and steer clear of those with a high saturated fat content, but be careful to check the labels. Sometimes lower in salt means higher in fat. Also, be mindful that earlier this year, the FDA announced an overhaul of the nutrition label facts on packaged foods.

3. Use Small Plates

At parties and dinners, try using smaller plates. In studies, human subjects who eat from smaller plates tend to feel full sooner and eat less overall than those using the more traditional larger-diameter dinner plates.

4. Less is More

Keep it simple. Fewer ingredients tend to equal fewer calories. For example, serve steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole.

5. Conserve Calories

Cut where you can. Skim milk and low-calorie toppings are an easy way to conserve calories.

6. Be Wary of Hidden Calories

And speaking of toppings, don’t overdo it with butter and gravy — these seemingly “hidden” calories can add up to more than you think.

7. Freeze Leftovers

Pop most leftovers in the freezer after dinner instead of returning them to the fridge time and time again. Out of sight, out of mind.

8. Eat Slowly

Don’t rush — take your time while eating and your body will give you the “I’m full” signal when it’s time to stop.

9. Walk It Off

Take a walk after dinner. Get your metabolism going and prevent yourself from “picking” after dinner. Plus, walking has been linked to improved weight control, heart health, cholesterol levels and much more.

Source:

Digestive Health Smart Brief, Nov. 18, 2011

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