7 Simple Solutions for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

The sweets, the snacks, the over-the-top desserts: The holidays are jam-packed with empty calories and never-ending temptation. Most Americans may only put on a pound or two during the holidays, but according to the National Institute of Health, most people will never lose that extra pound. To avoid having a belly that jiggles like a bowlful of jelly, follow just a few simple tricks:

Master the Buffet

 A buffet can be overwhelming. So many good things. Where do you start? With the smallest plate, experts say. Grab a small plate and limit your helpings to a single story (in other words, don’t pile on food). Be smart with what you select. Typically, the simplest foods on the spread are the best for you: fruits, vegetables, shrimp. Skip the sauces and you’re good to go.

Stand Elsewhere

There is more to a party than a food table. If you get something to eat, put it on a plate and walk away. You can distract yourself by talking to other people. If you get away from the table and take your mind off food, you won’t be as likely to reach for the goods.

Never Arrive Hungry

If you show up to a holiday party with a rumbling tummy, you’re more likely to devour the buffet of pasta and cannoli. Plan ahead by eating something healthy before you walk through the door. You can also curb hunger by drinking water and eating foods high in fiber, like raw fruits and vegetables.

Go Slow

Eating slower can actually help fill you up with less food. Instead of eating only during the first hour of the party, simply take your time grazing. You can also put your fork down in between bites to help pace yourself.

The Thing About Alcohol …

Some people celebrate the holidays drinking. In fact, in some families, a two-drink minimum may be in order before festivities even begin. While a drink or two is probably OK, overdoing it can mean you lose control over what you eat. It’s no secret that drinking can lower inhibitions, so all of a sudden you might think eating the entire chocolate pie really isn’t a big deal. It is. Limit yourself to just a drink or two to stay on the safe side of binge eating.

Limit “Test Bites”

Look, every chef has a right to taste her own food, but we’re going to have to stop you at licking the bowl clean. A good rule of thumb: If you are tasting to make sure the seasoning is correct, it should only take a few small bites. Anything more than that is unnecessary and can ruin your appetite for later.

Eat Sweets – Smartly

It’s the holidays. Sweets are inevitable, and completely denying yourself could lead to an unfortunate binge later. You can still enjoy dessert without any of the guilt. Pick something you know you’ll love so you can satisfy that craving, and then stop. Another trick is to have a few bites of your dessert and then sprinkle salt on it to keep yourself from eating more.