Stop Holiday Weight Gain with These Techniques

It can be tough to get through the next few weeks without weight gain. But simple adjustments can help you navigate the high-calorie blitz and stick to healthy eating.

Your most important strategy is to plan ahead. If you have restaurant plans, review the menu in advance; most eatery Web sites post menus. When visiting someone’s home, offer to bring a healthy dish so you’ll have at least one nutritious option.

It may seem counterintuitive, but eating before going out can help, too. Choose a small salad, a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or a small serving of low-fat protein to help you feel less like splurging later. A healthy “pre-flight” snack can also curb over-eating during the meal before the meal–bread, snacks and hors d’oeuvres.

As you come to an overflowing table, remember that dining is not an endurance sport: Take time to enjoy the meal. Participate in conversation, listen wholeheartedly, put down your fork and knife and engage with your loved ones. Let your body realize it is full. The slower you eat, the less likely you are to eat extra serving(s).

Here’s how to enjoy your celebrations without keeping a New Year’s resolution in the back of your mind:
• Eat lower-calorie food first–soup, salad and crudités.
• Use the MyPlate model. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, a quarter with lean protein and the remaining quarter with starch–preferably whole grain. Color your meals with fruit and vegetables. A variety of produce supplies more nutrients for optimal health.
• Pick fruit for dessert or low-fat, sugar-free frozen yogurt.
• Watch portion sizes. At restaurants, share large entrées. At home use smaller plates or reduce servings by half.
• Limit alcohol. Except for a single glass of wine, alcohol adds empty calories and can increase appetite.
• Stay active. Go for a walk after meal. Even 10 minutes of exercise daily boosts health.

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