How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
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Plan Healthy Eats
Rather than focus on the specific holiday meals that are sure to have a high calorie toll, think about your overall eating patterns during the season. How you eat every day sets the trend for your weight and health, so make healthy choices when and where you have more control, like at home and at work.
Get the Recipe: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese
While it might be tempting to skip breakfast during the holiday season (it saves calories, right?) or to go in the other direction and dine on leftover pie, do yourself a favor and start the day off right. A good breakfast will get in some important nutrients, get your metabolism going and set the tone for the rest of the day.
Get the Recipe: Grapefruit-Mint Salad
Soup Up Your Meal Plan
You can count on soup to fill you up with low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetables. Make a big pot on the weekend and you'll have it on hand for lunch or dinner throughout the week.
Get the Recipe: Pasta, Kale and White Bean Soup
Resist Workplace Temptations
No doubt about it: There will be more candies, cookies and cake staring you in the face at the office during the holiday season. Again, take the long view. Special treats aren't so special when you start to have them every day. Save your calories for the sweets you really don't want to miss (like Aunt Lorraine's peanut brittle).
One of the reasons we get so tempted by the abundance of sweets is that the holidays can be stressful, and indulging is one way to a hit of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) to the brain. Get your dopamine fix with other non-food-related rewards by, say, treating yourself to a massage, heading to a yoga class, taking a bath or carving out time to read a good book.
Bring a Veggie Dish
"Be the change you want to see in the world" doesn't just apply to how you treat others. It also applies to the food you want to eat. Make sure there's something healthy at a holiday party by offering to bring a vegetable-centric dish.
Get the Recipe: Bacon and Chive Green Bean Coins
Sip Seltzer or Water
Many people tend to let loose this time of year and dip into holiday spirits. While a single drink can be a modest indulgence, having two or more can be like eating an extra dinner. (A glass of wine is 125 calories, an old fashioned is 180 and a White Russian is 270!) Slow your pace by alternating a cocktail with a glass of seltzer or water.
Sneak in Exercise
The holidays are a busy time, for sure. But rather than throw your exercise routine out the window, or tell yourself you'll start one in January, focus on staying active in simple ways. It doesn't have to be an hourlong class or even a half-hour jog. Instead, find little ways to stay moving, like busting out a plank pose or going for a quick walk between meetings. Also, try to plan family time around active get-togethers, like a walk around the neighborhood or a snowshoe hike in the woods.