The holidays are wonderful time full of family, friends, and food, lots of food.  Many people feel they have to choose between enjoying the holidays and the treats that come with them, or sticking to a healthier eating plan and missing out.  Healthy eating does not mean cutting out all the foods you enjoy.  You can still enjoy your holiday favorites without packing on the pounds.  Here are a few tips that you can use this year to keep from overdoing it:

  1. Be realistic, this is probably not the best time to start trying to lose weight.  Work on maintaining your current weight through the holiday season. 
  2. Don’t skip meals.  Being overly hungry when it’s time for the “main event” meal leads to overeating.  Be sure and have a good breakfast (and lunch if your big meal is in the evening).  Stop when you’re full, instead of when you’re miserable.
  3. Plan time for exercise.  Take a walk as a family, play a game of family flag football, or plan a treasure hunt that will get everyone walking around the house for a while. 
  4. At parties, take the time to look over all the food before you start filling your plate.  Enjoy your favorites, and skip the ones you don’t love.  Be sure and take any fresh fruits or vegetables to balance things out.
  5. Plan family activities that don’t focus on food.  Instead of spending a day baking cookies, spend a day making holiday crafts. 
  6. Some holiday recipes can be tweaked to be a little healthier.  Try chicken broth to flavor mashed potatoes and cut back on the butter and milk.  Or try topping cookies with colored sugars instead of heavy frosting.  You don’t need change all your traditional recipes, just try one or two.
  7. Holidays can be a stressful time too.  Having all those holiday treats around the house can make stress eating even more dangerous.  Keep healthy snacks around and send holiday leftovers and desserts home with relatives.  If you’re giving baked goods as gifts, be sure to wrap your gifts immediately to keep from sampling too many.
  8. Remember holidays are best when you and your loved ones are happy and healthy.  Do your best stay healthy all year long by eating well and getting plenty of physical activity!

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