Avoiding holiday weight gain

The holiday appetizer season has already begun and many of you have already attended at least one party and are due to attend at least a handful more. Without a doubt, this is the time of year that really challenges healthy habits and the best of intentions.

So the question is: How do you minimise holiday weight gain when every appetizer tray that passes is anything but good for your waistline?

Studies show that people on average gain about one pound over the holidays. Interestingly, people who are already overweight going into the holiday season will gain about five pounds.

The problem with those five pounds is that if you don’t get rid of them come January they can accumulate, becoming a bigger problem for your health and waistline down the road.

The best advice I can provide people with this time of year is to simply maintain your weight over the holiday season. Now is not the right time to be losing weight. If anything, direct your efforts to incorporating more exercise to help balance out the extra appetizer and cocktail calories.

So, how do you deal with all those parties and still fit into your jeans by January? Know which holiday appetizers to splurge on and which ones you will need to limit to one or two.

Worst offenders

? Anything wrapped in a phyllo pastry

? Anything wrapped in a puff pastry

? Anything cheese stuffed

Example: four sausage rolls = 200 calories and about 20 grams of fat; two jalapeno poppers = 170 calories and 15 grams of fat

Best choices

? Vegetable and dip tray, including hummus and tzatziki.

? Whole-grain crackers or crisp bread with vegetable antipasto (Four tablespoons = only 50 calories and one gram of fat).

? Frozen/fresh shrimp and cocktail sauce (Five shrimp with sauce = about 50 calories and one gram fat)

?Smoked salmon on mini pumpernickel bread

?Chicken skewers (two skewers = 50 to 60 calories)

?Bruschetta(two pieces = 45 calories)

Party tips

Some tips that will help you stick to your healthy intentions at a holiday party:

?Do not arrive hungry. Have a snack beforehand to take the edge off your hunger otherwise those holiday appetizers and treats will be much harder to resist.

?Do not skip breakfast and lunch in an effort to save calories in anticipation of a big meal. This will backfire and you will only end up hungry by party time.

? Watch the liquid calories! Alcohol packs on the calories quite quickly and it will only lower your willpower, making it more difficult to limit ‘worst offender’ appetizers to two!

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