15 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays
The holidays are just around the corner – and with them, a slew of temptations that can lead to an increase in calorie intake. This time of year is one of indulgence – from parties filled with hors d’oeuvres and holiday desserts to gifts that come wrapped in the form of a decadent box of chocolates.
But you don’t have to give up your favorite holiday foods altogether! If you’re looking for ways to maintain those healthy habits throughout December, here are 20 tips on how to stay fit during the holidays:
1. Don’t Skip Breakfast:
To avoid packing on excess weight, be sure not to skip any meals – including breakfast! According to research published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, women who consume a morning meal have a lower body mass index than those who don’t. In addition to helping you stay lean and fit, breakfast will also improve your productivity throughout the day!
2. Use Smaller Plates:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the tasty foods surrounding you during the holidays, try using smaller plates at your mealtimes. Research from Cornell University has shown that when we eat on larger dishes, we tend to serve ourselves more food without even realizing it!
When a dessert or side dish looks tiny on a large plate or platter, our brains subconsciously assume that there isn’t very much food in front of us – and we end up filling our plates anyway. For this reason, it’s recommended that you switch to smaller plates or bowls to avoid overeating during meal times.
3. Avoid the Buffet Line:
The buffet line is one of the most tempting places at a holiday party, but it’s also one of the least healthy. Instead of serving yourself heaping mounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing, try opting for lighter menu items like fresh fruit, veggies with low-fat dressing, and lean proteins. If you are going to indulge…go lightly!
4. Stir Away From Sugar:
While many people tend to prepare their beverages with several generous scoops of sugar, there are healthier alternatives that won’t negatively impact your waistline. Instead of adding sugar into your morning coffee or afternoon tea, opt for more natural sweetening solutions like honey, agave nectar, or even blackstrap molasses!
5. Skip The Alcohol:
It’s that festive time of year – which often means that there will be plenty of holiday parties with delicious drinks to go around. If you’re looking for ways to stay fit during the holidays without completely depriving yourself of alcohol, try substituting your favorite alcoholic beverage for an equally festive non-alcoholic alternative. Sparkling cider can make any drink more festive – and festive drinks are typically loaded with sugar!
6. Practice Portion Control:
One of the best ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays is by taking control of your portion sizes. Instead of eating until you feel stuffed, stop when you start to feel satisfied. When you allow yourself to have a little bit of everything, it will be much easier to avoid overeating at your next mealtime.
7. Learn Self-Control:
One way to avoid the pitfalls of dietary indulgence during the holiday season is by practicing self-control when it comes time for seconds. Keeping yourself from diving into that second helping of mashed potatoes is tough – but if you can learn what your stomach feels like before and after you eat, then you will likely find that just one serving is perfect!
8. Use Cheese as a Condiment:
If you’re trying to cut calories while still enjoying some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, consider using cheese as a condiment instead of sour cream or heavy cream. Cheese is lower in calories and tends to be higher in protein – the perfect substitution for creamy, calorie-heavy dishes!
9. Set a Calorie Limit:
When it comes time to prepare your holiday meal, remember that you don’t have to enjoy every dish out there. Before you start cooking, set yourself a reasonable calorie limit and try not to go over it! That way, you can still enjoy the foods that bring back fond memories without feeling guilty about indulging.
10. Plan Ahead:
If your holiday party is already next week, then chances are good that you may be unprepared when it comes time to leave the house. To avoid accidentally packing on extra pounds due to last-minute decisions, just plan – pack your healthy dish and skip the temptation to load up on appetizers or another unhealthy fare at the party.
11. Occupy Your Hands:
It can be difficult to avoid reaching into that large holiday bowl of candy while you’re watching television, but there are solutions. If you want to occupy your hands during a festive TV show, try putting together a holiday craft like ornament ornaments or even repurposing old clothing like leggings instead of using them as pants!
12. Use Smaller Dishes:
When you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal, make sure that everything is served on smaller plates and platters! By downsizing your dinnerware, chances are good that you will end up with less food in front of you – which means less chance of overindulging.
13. Substitute Vegetables:
If you’re looking for ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle during the holiday season without sacrificing flavor, cut back on some of the starchy carbohydrates in traditional dishes and replace them with more vegetables! You won’t even notice that they’re not there – but you will certainly appreciate adding another vegetable into your diet!
14. Keep Healthy Snacks Around:
Don’t run out of snacks when you’re craving something sweet this holiday season! Instead, keep plenty of healthy treats around the house so that you don’t end up raiding the cookie jar or candy bowl when no one is looking. Nuts make great snack options because they are low fat and high protein (and they’re very filling!)
15. Don’t Skip Meals:
One way to avoid the pitfalls of dietary indulgence during the holiday season is by never skipping a meal. When you skip meals, you set yourself up for binge eating later on – so make sure that you take full advantage of your three regular meals and two snacks each day!