Kick These Holiday Habits to Prevent Weight Gain

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(Photo: iStock) 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year--to gain weight! With all the baking, traveling and general merry-making, it’s hard not to put on a few extra pounds. Want to enjoy the festivities and keep your waistline in check? Here are a few holiday habits to avoid.

Mindless Snacking

With the amount of food that’s around this time of year, it’s easy to graze the day away.  This year, try to be more conscious of your munching. All of those extra bites can really add up.

Start your day with protein-packed foods that will stick with you like oatmeal, Greek yogurt or eggs. At holiday gatherings, try to keep your conversations out of the kitchen and away from the food. And don’t show up "hangry". No one likes a grumpy guest and going in with an empty stomach means you’ll probably snack more than you should. If your host asks you to bring an appetizer, offer up a healthy, lower-calorie option like a fruit and cheese plate, nuts, crudités, crostini, deviled eggs or smoked salmon.

Liquid Calories

Booze wisely! Forgo your usual glass of wine and sip on some champagne instead, because all of those holiday toasts can really add up. Champagne is more festive and contains 40 less calories per glass.

If you're craving a cocktail, mix one with club soda instead of tonic water. You’ll save yourself about 80 calories and 21 grams of sugar. And don’t forget to pace yourself--sip on some water in between drinks. It’s calorie free and key to avoiding a nasty hangover the next day.    

Gym Skipping

It’s easy to let your workout routine slip this time of year. With all of the holiday happenings, sometimes it’s hard to squeeze it in. But save some time to stay active this season. A little movement will help you burn off extra calories and the endorphins will keep you from being a Scrooge.

No time for the gym? Download a 30 minute workout video that you can follow at home or get steps in by walking your dog, taking the stairs at work and parking farther away from stores. Shopping really is cardio! Seasonal activities like sledding and ice skating are also fun ways to sneak in activity and spend time with friends and family.  

Desserts

Sweets abound this time of year and all that sugar can really do a number on your diet. If you’re getting ready to do some holiday baking, try making some substitutions so you can have your cake and eat it too.

Trim the fat by replacing butter in recipes with applesauce, pureed pumpkin or low-fat yogurt. If milk or cream cheese is called for, use low-fat or 2%. Cut back on sugar by using a no-calorie sweetener like Truvia. You can also boost fiber content and fill up faster by replacing half of white flour for whole wheat.