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Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
Date:12/25/2009

Enjoy the occasional treat while sticking to your diet. Here's how.

FRIDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- You've lost track of how many chocolate chips you've eaten and that box of Santa Claus-shaped candies is calling your name. With New Year's still to come, your opportunities to overeat and overindulge aren't over yet.

Before you take one more slice of pie, keep in mind it's not too late to get a handle on your holiday eating.

If you've been good the rest of the year, splurging a bit during the season of stuffing and sugar cookies won't do you much harm, said Megan Fendt, a registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

"You will not gain weight from one meal by itself," Fendt said. "Consistency is the key. If you eat healthful meals during the months before the holidays, a splurge or two can be fit in."

Even if you've been overeating since you packed away your bathing suit at the end of summer, don't give up on yourself, dietitians say.

Before you head to that next family gathering or holiday party, think about your food choices and come up with a plan.

If you know the party will be a food extravaganza, cut down a bit the week before, then allow yourself those extra goodies at the party, a concept called a "calorie bank," advised Michele Murphy, another registered dietitian at the medical center.

A few hours before the gathering, eat some healthy snacks, such as fruit, non-fat yogurt or vegetables, to prevent yourself from doing too much grazing when you get there. Better yet, offer to bring a veggie tray, fruit salad or other low-fat dish to the party that you can share.

To control how much you consume, as soon as you arrive, get a glass of water and survey your food choices. Think about what you really want to sample and make choices. If you really want to try the chocolate fountain, stay away from the chips and Frenc
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