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Holidays Don't Have to Make You Heavier

Maintaining weight, instead of dieting, is a good way to keep pounds off, experts say

SUNDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The holiday season is always extra challenging for those watching their weight, but there are ways to participate in the fun without packing on the pounds.

Julie Redfern, manager of the Nutrition Consult Services at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, recommends trying to simply maintain your weight rather than shedding pounds as a good strategy. In a news release issued by the hospital, she also offered these tips:

  • Before going to a holiday party, eat a light snack. Arriving hungry often results in overindulging. Also, offer to bring your favorite healthier choice dish to ensure that you have good food options.
  • Don't hang out near the food. Proximity increases temptation.
  • Practice good portion control. Fill your dinner plate with half vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbs. Try to avoid seconds and thirds. As for desserts, chose only those you like the most and have smaller portions.
  • Reduce your fat intake by skipping the skin on turkey or chicken. Also, refrigerate gravy, then skim off the fat once it cools.
  • Watch out for high-calorie holiday drinks. Enjoy just a small cup of apple cider, eggnog or the like, then balance it off with lots of water to help curb your appetite.
  • Eat once, not all night. Grazing at the food table quickly piles up the calories, so instead, make a balanced plate of food just once during a party.
  • When hosting a holiday party, give away your leftovers. Keep plenty of disposable dishes ready to give away sweets and other unhealthy food choices to guests.
  • Focus on conversation or activities with your family and friends, rather than on food. For example, take a family walk after the main holiday meal.

More information

The American Dietetic Association has more about healthy eating.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, December 2008

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