You've only just walked in the door at the annual family holiday gathering, and already two aunts and a grandma have flocked around you to offer cookies, cakes and snacks. So it begins. Eating sensibly during the holiday can feel like an uphill battle, with factors from the cold weather to pushy relatives threatening the hard-earned integrity of your waistline. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average American gains one to two pounds every year during the holidays, which may not seem like a lot on its own but can add up over a lifetime. Keep these tips in mind to keep the pounds at bay:
- Bring your own food: Everybody likes a potluck, and bringing a dish to a holiday party is always helpful for the host. Moreover, it will help you to ensure there is at least one healthy option available at each event you attend.
- Avoid the food court: Holiday shopping at the mall can lead to holiday eating at the food court, which probably has the fewest healthy options of any assemblage of restaurants you might encounter. When shopping, bring snacks from home and plan your route so that you don't pass by the food court and get lured in by the emanating smells.
- Switch off alcohol and water: This is a sensible recommendation both for avoiding alcohol-induced weight gain and to prevent excessive drunkenness at family gatherings.
- Lay off the guilt: By all means, go into the season with determination to eat healthily, but if you slip up and eat the entire batch of Christmas cookies you made for that one party, making yourself feel bad about it is only going to discourage you from getting back into the healthy eating habit.
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