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Guest author Carmen Brettell: How to Stay the Course with Healthy Eating this Holiday Season

While the New Year is usually the time that everyone swears to lose 10 pounds, the holiday
season is usually the time that everyone gains those 10 pounds (or more). Between Halloween,
Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holiday celebrations, there is a smorgasbord of treats and
feasts to tempt us, making it hard to maintain our healthy eating habits and our weight.

Celebrating doesn’t have to mean forfeiting all your healthy habits or giving up on losing the
weight you want (or maintaining the weight loss you have already achieved). Here are a few tips
for how you can stay the course with healthy eating this holiday season:

Eat a Healthy Meal before You Celebrate

There will be plenty of holiday parties and celebrations over the coming months, offering
numerous opportunities to indulge in unhealthy treats. You can curb how much you eat at these
gatherings by eating a healthy meal or snack before you leave. The more fruits, vegetables,
whole grains and lean protein you eat, the less room you’ll have for sugary, fatty treats.

Make Healthy Alternatives

You don’t have to eat what’s at the party. You can bring along your own healthy snacks and
treats so that you have some good choices in addition to the sugary treats. Bring along snacks
such as chopped veggies and dip, whole grain crackers, low-fat cheeses, or dried fruit or nuts.
If you really want to enjoy one of your favorite treats, make a healthier version by substituting
natural sugars and healthy fats in the recipe.

Conduct a Taste Test

Often, just a taste is enough to indulge a craving or satisfy a sweet tooth. Instead of trying to
fight your cravings — which will likely lead to binging later when you overcompensate — go
ahead and indulge your cravings a bit. Take just a taste of your favorite treats or those that most
take your interest. You’ll satisfy your cravings without needing to consume all the additional
calories.

Drink Plenty of Water

Festive drinks can derail your healthy eating habits also. Cider, egg nog, and holiday cocktails
all have a lot of extra sugar and calories. Stick to water instead and you’ll cut out a lot of
calories, allowing you to keep your daily calorie goals while also making room for more treats.
Drinking plenty of water will also help fill you up, leaving less room for unhealthy treats.

Exercise

Regular exercise can not only help you burn off all those extra calories you consume over
the holidays, but it can also help you to regulate your appetite so you don’t feel tempted to
indulge as much. Be sure to fit in at 30 minutes of exercise four to five times a week for the most
benefits.

Enjoying holiday festivities doesn’t have to mean losing track of your healthy eating habits
and gaining a lot of weight. These tips can help you enjoy treats in moderation while also
maintaining your healthy habits.

What other tricks do you use to stay the course with healthy eating during the holidays? Share
your tips in the comments!

About the author:Carmen Brettel is a writer and manager for studentgrants.org, where she has recently been researching college grants for women. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and volunteering at animal shelters.

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