Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

On holidays, we eat up to 900 calories more than usual. But no need to put stretch pants on your holiday wish list this year. Instead, give yourself the gift of these 10 slimming tricks for the holidays.

Share your experiences with holiday weight loss on a blog or social networking page. Everyone has good days and bad days, but the written record keeps you from allowing the occasional indulgence to spiral into a whole month's worth.

Share your diet ups and downs on the Better Homes & Gardens Facebook page.

Bake those Christmas cookies with a friend. Just being with another person makes you more accountable for your actions -- which means less testing and nibbling. Your waistline will thank you, and you'll have more goodies to share.

Sometimes depriving yourself of a certain food only makes you want it more, leading to an unfortunate binge. Try one or two cookies the first time they call your name. It's more practical to eat a couple than try to force yourself to cut them out completely.

Instead of handling holiday stress by indulging in calorie-laden comfort foods, unwind with a movie, good book, or manicure.

Attending a holiday dinner party? Ask the host what she'll be serving and offer to bring a nutritious complementary dish. If chips and dip are on the menu, contribute some hummus and whole grain pita crisps. If she's having chicken in a cream sauce, bring a whole-grain salad loaded with veggies. This way, super-rich foods take up only a portion of your mean. Plus, you're lightening the workout for the host.

Try this wheat berry and wild rice salad.

At holiday parties, many folks rely on food to help cope with social jitters. Beat awkwardly hovering around the snack table by grabbing a camera and acting as party photographer. Snapping photos will keep your hands occupied and give you the courage to mingle.

Tip: Keep a pen and notebook handy to jot down the e-mail addresses of guests, so you send them photos later.

Skipping breakfast the morning of a holiday bash probably won't lower your overall food intake. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who went without an a.m. meal ended up consuming more calories throughout the day than those who woke up to a bowl of high-fiber cereal.

Check out these healthy breakfast recipes.

Losing track of liquid calories is a common holiday party pitfall. But the shape of your glass can have a bearing on your tally. Adults observed in a Cornell University study unknowingly poured and drank about 19 percent more juice when given short, wide glasses vs. tall, slender glasses. At a self-serve drink station, reach for the latter to keep yourself in check.

Appetizer and Beverage Quantity Charts: How Much Do I Need?

Everyone gravitates to the food at a holiday party, but once you've served yourself, take your conversations elsewhere. When food is visible and within arm's reach, people are apt to graze mindlessly.

A single high-fat holiday meal can have an inflammatory effect on the body and even temporarily stiffen blood vessels. Getting aerobic exercise immediately afterward -- whether by playing in the snow or taking a brisk walk -- can help counter this effect.

Whenever you need help deciding whether to have that second piece of pumpkin pie, visualize two holiday tops hanging in your closet: A bulky red sweater and a beautiful red blouse. Saying yes to the pie would mean saying yes to that old sweater. No, thanks!


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