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With the holidays just around the corner, many of us are already hunkering down for the winter, loosening our belt buckles and ditching the gym. This time of year is marked by shorter days, colder weather, and plenty of comfort food. Unfortunately, this usually translates to weight gain. The typical adult gains 5 to 8 lbs in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Instead of gaining weight this year, here are some tips to maintain your weight during the holidays.

Be picky with your parties.

Chances are you’ll be invited to handful of holiday parties this year. You may want to reconsider that RSVP and decline a few of the less meaningful events (i.e. your sisters’ neighborhood cookie swap?). By only attending those that are really meaningful to you, you’ll limit your exposure to festive foods, and therefore limit your opportunities to indulge.

Don’t show up hungry.

Fasting all day or ‘saving up’ calories usually backfires. Instead, treat the holidays like any average day, and eat a normal breakfast and lunch so you’re not famished by the time the holiday meal comes around.

Scan the room.

Before loading up on a sub-par appetizer, take a lap and scan the room for food options. Make sure you’re splurging where it really counts, and not wasting calories on a food that isn’t that great.


Offer to bring one or two dishes (that may be slightly healthier). Mashed cauliflower is a great substitute for mashed potatoes, and Pumpkin Pie is super easy to put a lighter spin on.

Fill up first.

Fill up on the salad or soup course or extra portions of veggies first, then think about the starch, protein and dessert when you’re not so hungry.

Stay busy.

Volunteer to help clean up as soon as you’re finished eating, or organize a game or dance contest! Chances are you won’t be eating if you’re busy with another activity.

Just say “No.

Saying no is an artform, especially with our loving, but food-pushing, relatives. A simple “No, thank you,” can go a long way, but feel free to get creative. “No, I’m stuffed!” “Thanks but I’m allergic.” “I just had some, it was great!” “I wish, but I’m focusing on my health this year.

Pass on Leftovers.

One meal can only do so much damage, but leftovers will allow holiday eating to trickle into the days and weeks afterwards. Try to get rid of leftovers ASAP and get right back on track.

Keep Things in Perspective.

Even the most disciplined eaters will deviate from the diet during the holidays. Don’t beat yourself up, and just get back on track as soon as you can!

Here are some more of my favorite (dietitian approved) holiday recipes:

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!


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