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December 12, 2011 at 8:00 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

20 Simple Tips To Fight Holiday Weight Gain

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This Author

Trim your waist along with the tree this holiday season!

The holiday season is upon us and that means cookies and candy canes abound. As 'tis the season to enjoy a treat a bit more often than usual, it is important to pay attention to other areas of your diet in order to balance out your holiday eating.

Try to think of your diet as a bank account, if you spend a few hundred calories on a double-chocolate treasure or two, aim to cut back on your caloric spending in other areas. If you are not quite sure how you will be able to do so, I wanted to share a few nutrition tips and tricks to help you trim back without impacting the quality or quantity of your diet.

Read on for my 20 simple tips to trim the calories from your daily diet, translating over to a healthier and slimmer you:

  1. Purchase low or non-fat cheese and milk products vs. whole fat.
  2. Use smaller size glasses and plates to gain a better idea of portion control.
  3. Substitute extra-lean ground turkey breast for fattier ground meats.
  4. Enjoy a fancy ‘open-face’ sandwich by omitting one slice of bread.
  5. When topping off your salad, use a spray dressing instead of the liquid pour.
  6. Jazz up your baked potato with salsa rather than sour cream.
  7. Make half of your dinner plate veggies.
  8. When preparing stews, chili, or gravy, use a piece of bread to sponge up the excess fat.
  9. Sautee with chicken broth rather than vegetable oil.
  10. Using non-fat milk as your coffee-creamer rather than true creamer.
  11. Stop "taste testing" dinner (or your kid’s dinner!).
  12. Ditch the doughnuts at work.
  13. Cut calories in your evening ‘vino’ by mixing wine with naturally calorie-free club soda.
  14. Skip the bread basket!
  15. Ask the server to bag up half of your meal before it even arrives for lunch the next day
  16. Request dressing on the side or simply use vinegar or lemon juice instead.
  17. Enjoying a skinny latte in place of a frappuccino.
  18. Sip on water instead of soda.
  19. Ask for your sandwich to be served on butter-free bread.
  20. Request half the cheese on your pizza (with extra veggies!)

What tips do you employ to help prevent the average one-pound gain of winter weight typical of most Americans? 

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  • Great tips, Jessica! What ones do you use the most?

    I try to eat several small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones. Or I eat three meals but make the portions smaller and eat small snacks in between them. This way, my portions are under control and my metabolism is up from eating several times a day instead of just three.

  • Jessica thanks for all the helpful tips, but what about party food? When we get together as a family we always bring out the favorites like we will have a honey baked ham, with cheesy potatoes, BBQ meatballs, maybe lasagna, and then we add some appetizers like, deviled eggs, various dips with chips or veggies, cheese and crackers or cheese and olives. What is a good appetizer that has low calories but everyone would like? Oh I forgot I didn't even mention all the goodies we have for dessert!

  • Tough question, Bri! I definitely do my best to incorporate all of these tricks into my diet (and it sounds like you're doing a great job yourself!), though I love to substitute salsa for toppings on my baked potato, salads, and as a veggie dip. The incredible pop of flavor goes a long way for very little calories, plus it is chock-full of lycopene!

  • Nancy, when it comes to holiday parties there are several tricks you can use. 1) Eat before you arrive! Whether you grab a yogurt and an apple or a hearty granola bar and some carrots, I highly encourage you to munch on a snack or mini-meal before hand so that you do not arrive starving and eat too much. 2) You can still fill half of your plate with veggies, whether you are munching on appetizers or eating a full meal at a friends. This trick can easily cut hundreds of calories! 3) Stay hydrated. If you are enjoying some holiday spirits, perhaps try to go every other alcoholic drink with a glass of club soda or water. Again, this can save you 150-500 calories per drink!

    If you will be surrounded by food all night long, try to keep your hands full with a drink, a game of cards, or wild hand gestures as you share stories from the past year with your girlfriends - and while you're at, try to stay away from the buffet or appetizer line. Both of these can help to keep you focused on the true reason you are at the holiday party (your friends and family!)

    Of course, food is a big part of all holiday events and I certainly am not asking that you avoid annual treats at all costs. As you are filling up on veggies or re-filling your martini glass with soda water, scan the buffet to determine what exactly you want to spend your calories on. Then do enjoy! Savor the flavor with each bite to truly make it count :)

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