How to Eat Light and Smart for the Holidays

There are ways to avoid putting on those extra few pounds during the months leading up to New Year’s Day. All it takes is a little bit of planning and a dose of willpower to arrive in the new year without additional, unwanted body weight. Here are four strategies for dodging the “food bullet” this holiday season:

Avoid Overeating at Office Parties

The best way to avoid eating at office parties is to stay home. Unfortunately, some company functions are mandatory for job-retention reasons. If you find yourself at one of these soirées, grab a cup of water or no-calorie soda and socialize with the other captive guests. Chances are, they all wish they could be somewhere else too. Avoid the snack table, and if people try to push food on you, just politely say, “No thanks.” Believe it or not, it actually is possible to attend, and even enjoy, office holiday parties. The trick is knowing how to avoid all the tempting treats. An even better strategy of to eat a regular meal before going to the function. You won’t be hungry and can honestly tell the food-pushers, “No thanks, I just ate dinner at home.”

Stick to Exercise Routines

Holiday season has its own strange way of interrupting our daily routines. People who exercise regularly know this sad truth all too well. Make an extra effort to do your healthful routine, whatever it is, even during the busiest times of the year. For many, getting up an hour or so earlier each day and completing a workout first thing in the morning is the solution. Others use their lunch breaks as a time to get out of the office and walk for 30 or more minutes. If those methods don’t work, consider heading straight to the gym after work.

Go Easy on the Sweets

Nutritionists say that the average adult gains between two and six pounds from October until late December. The culprit for most people, according to survey data, is sweets. Avoiding candy, desserts and other sweet items can be nearly impossible unless you have an iron will. One effective method is to limit yourself to just three sweet items per week, or one per day, during the festive season.

Replace the Big Meal with a Big Party

Consider throwing a party instead of putting on a huge Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Eat a small meal at home before guests arrive and make sure the festivities aren’t centered around food. Play games, watch a classic Christmas film together or just catch up on family news. If you do want to serve something to guests who just came in from the cold, make it a beverage that’s warm and not calorie-laden. Here’s a recipe for hot chocolate that everyone will love. Plus, it’s ideal for vegan Thanksgiving gatherings, Christmas parties and Halloween festivities.

  • Ingredients: Four cups of unsweetened almond milk (a vegan essential!), four tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, six tablespoons of dairy-free chocolate chips, three packets of artificial sweetener, coconut whipped cream as topping.
  • -Directions: Warm the milk in a large saucepan. Add all the other ingredients and whisk the mixture until they are combined. Top with whipped cream and serve. This recipe makes four large, or six small servings.

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