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Getting through the holidays without gaining any weight is a great way to round out the year. But it’s easier said than done! To practice healthy holiday eating while still enjoying the foods of the season, you can use several tricks to cut back on calories.

Healthy holiday eating

Check out our favorite tricks for enjoying the holidays without gaining extra pounds.

Healthy holiday eating 1Trick 1: Choose Healthy Holiday Eating Portions

Obviously what you eat affects your caloric intake- but so does how much you eat. Learning to control your portion sizes can make holiday eating healthier.

One easy trick is to always grab the smaller size plate at parties. Another great trick is to recognize what one serving looks like (in a holiday party context.) Lastly, don’t show up hungry. Start your day with a healthy breakfast so you’re too full to give in to temptations later.

Trick 2: Make Eating Part of the Celebration

Snacking mindlessly, showing up to events starving, and squeezing in meals are all common causes of holiday weight gain. Try eating mindfully instead. That means only eating as a part of the celebration—like savoring your food, chewing slowly, only grabbing one plateful and enjoying while you socialize.

Healthy holiday eating 4Trick 3: Pay Attention to Proximity

Watch out for the food table. When you stand near it at gatherings, you’re more likely to keep grabbing more helpings or grazing. Fill your plate, walk away, and make going back for more something you’d really have to think about.

Trick 4: Make Healthy Swaps

Just because most people at holiday parties make a sandwich out of meats, cheeses, breads, and veggies doesn’t mean you have to. Make it a salad (sans bread!) instead. There are tons of other simple, healthy swaps you can make to cut calorie corners and still get the flavors of the season.

Trick 5: Say “No” Sometimes

It’s hard to turn down food when food is such a huge part of the holidays. But there are good reasons to say, “No.” Choose a few as your mantra and stick to them! For example, stick to a strategy like saying “I’d like the recipe.” That way, you’re not missing out on tasting the food (but you won’t actually eat it in the moment while already full.)

Healthy holiday eating 5Trick 6: Deal with Stress Well

As joyful as the holiday season is, it can also be stressful. Unfortunately, stress eating can be a real problem. Find a healthy stress relief habit as a gift to yourself- and your waistline- this time of year.

Trick 7: Balance Input with Output

Counting calories consumed versus calories burned can be a challenge any time of year, but especially during the holidays. There are less-strict strategies for balancing diet and fitness though. For example, if you spend 10 minutes eating, spend 10 minutes walking around socializing. When you indulge in dessert, commit to dancing to the next holiday song. For every party you attend, schedule a workout session.

Working out during the holidays is more likely to happen if it’s fun!
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