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You Don't Have to Gain Weight This Holiday Season

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The holiday season is slowly creeping upon us. With it brings happiness, gifts, cooler temperatures-- and lots of good tasting food. It is hard to resist holiday parties and festivals with cookies, candy, eggnog and other treats. As a result, we worry about putting on weight during these joyful months. In reality, most of us only gain about 1-2 pounds during this time but rarely lose it; instead the weight stays on and continues to accrue each year.

To avoid this ongoing weight gain, here are my 5 top tips to eating healthy during the holiday season!

1. Choose Healthy Holiday Food Items at the Buffet Table

Fill your plate with fresh fruit and veggies. The high fiber will keep you fuller longer. Use a small amount of dip - about 1 teaspoon. Have shrimp cocktail for protein. Avoid the cheese cubes and cookies.

2. Continue Your Exercise Routine

With the weather change and a busy holiday season, many people slack off on their normal regimen. If you are able to exercise for 10-15 minutes at a time during work breaks, you will reach your daily goal of 60 minutes easily. Shopping for gifts at a mall or parking further away may be other options. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.

3. Remember That Alcoholic Drinks Also Have Calories

A typical glass of wine has about 100-120 calories, while mixed drinks like a gin and tonic have about 250-300 calories. Adding juice or soda to hard liquor increases the caloric count. Try sparkling water to save some calories. Portion the drinks and make sure to account a drink into your daily caloric intake. It is recommended that women should have only one alcoholic beverage per day while men should only drink two.

4. Portion Control

Remember that even though it is a buffet, you are not required to eat everything on the table. Use small plates and try to fill 2/3 of your plate with fruit and vegetables with a small sample (about 1/3) of high fat foods, such as fried appetizers. Try to eat a small snack before the party so that you will not be as hungry.

5. Have Fun! It Is a Party

Take the time to mingle with guests and step away from the food table. If you must have something in your hand, choose one drink to hold throughout the party to help control food and beverage intake.

Rhea Li is a Registered Dietitian who received her Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Texas. She has a special interest in working with children and has received her certification in pediatric weight management. Currently, she is working on a research study to determine the importance of nutrition in pediatric cancer patients. In the past, she has worked with pregnant women and their children. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family, exercising, traveling and of course, eating.

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