The holiday season can often pose a threat to even the healthiest eater. With office parties, buffet dinners, gourmet gifts and the New Year's resolution lurking around the corner, many put their diets aside.
Studies show the average person gains 1 pound between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This may not seem like a lot but, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, most people don't lose the weight they put on during the holidays. After 10 Christmases, you're looking at a new pant size.
This year, you can have a healthier holiday season with the following tips.
1. Get Moving
To maintain or lose weight, one of the most effective tools is regular exercise. Kick up your workouts to burn extra calories during the holiday season. (Remember the sugar cookie you had at work?) If you normally run for 30 minutes, up it to 45. If you work out three days a week, try five a week for the month of December. Or, prepare for the office holiday party by attending spin class instead of walking on the treadmill. It can even be as simple as walking on your lunch break or taking the stairs—just be active.
2. Include More Color in Your Meals
Emily Edison of Momentum Health in Seattle, suggests red peppers, greens, blueberries or cranberries for more flavor, fiber and antioxidants, which help reduce the effects of holiday stress.
3. Never Go to a Party Hungry
Before you leave the house, grab some nuts, string cheese or whole-grain crackers. Having a snack with protein, fat and fiber helps you feel full so when you reach that buffet table you'll be able to keep your portions reasonable.
4. Focus on Friends, Not Food
Steer clear of the food table by sitting on the couch with friends. Engaging in conversation will help take the focus off the mounds of food across the room. Remember, conversation is calorie-free and spending time with others is really what the holidays are all about.