Food. Family. Fun. That’s about the order of priority around the holidays, but if you (like most) are worried about gaining those few extra pounds over December, we’ve got a few tips for you. It doesn’t have to be a blue Christmas this year with bland foods that taste like cardboard, but take the initiative to make a DEFENSIVE game plan when it comes to eating this season. Start with some of our helpful tips and maybe sprinkle in a few ideas of your own. Happy season’s eatings! 1. Be A Picky Eater – In other words, spend your calories wisely on the foods you love and enjoy. Put yourself on a food budget at each meal and at every party and come New Years, you won’t be disappointed in your waistline. That’s something you can take to the bank. Try This: Make a mental note of which foods are your favorites and try to stick to those instead of going crazy and eating every single thing on the table. 2. Rethink Seconds – It takes a little time for your brain to realize you’re “full” so give yourself a break and then take inventory of how you feel. You may not want those seconds after all. Try This: After you’re finished with your first plate of food, take a 10-minute break. Grab some water. Talk to an old friend. Go to the bathroom. 3. Don’t Be A Grazer – We’re talking about acting as guardian of the food table. It’s easy to mindlessly eat while you talk, even if you’re full, so keep some distance between you and that delicious spread. Try This: If you know you’re the type who will grab a snack at every turn, carry some gum or mints in your pocket and pop those in when you get a hankering to keep on snacking. 4. Never Go To Party With An Empty Tummy – That’s just asking for trouble and you’re almost certain to gorge yourself when you get there. It’s just human nature, when you’re famished, you FEAST. Try This: Grab a filling bite before heading out. Something like apple slices with peanut butter or turkey and cheese on pita bread are perfect choices. 5. Try Not To Drink All Your Calories – Easier said than done when you’re enjoying friends and food in a fun atmosphere, but there are some tips that can at help (a little). Did you know that a glass of eggnog can rack up 500 calories or more in a single glass? Wine, beer or cocktails typically run 125-250 calories per drink, so they can add up quickly. Be mindful of those deliciously dangerous drinks. Try This: Take a break between drinks to grab a glass of water or even a flavored seltzer between takes. 6. Slip-On Those Dancing (Walking) Shoes – Depending on the type of dancing and obvious intensity levels, dancing can burn up to an average of 282 calories per hour! The perfect way to make up for those yummy hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails. Walking can also be a great way to burn some calories before a night of partying. Try This: Choose a dinner spot that offers live music so you can dance the night away or grab a friend or family member and take a brisk walk around the block before the night starts. 7. Don’t Shop Hungry – Similar to going to a party hungry, NEVER leave the house hungry, especially if you’re going shopping. Strolling around the mall or department store will have your stomach growling for those yummy cinnamon rolls and pretzels that you won’t be able to resist. Poor choices are just bound to happen. Try This: Grab a healthy snack before you leave the house or eat a good meal at home. This will help cut down on those impulse snacks that seem to be everywhere. 8. Cook For Those You Love – Going out to eat or to a party, it’s hard to control your food choices or more importantly what’s in them. Why not plan your own dinner party and cook a delicious heart-healthy meal for the important people in your life. There are lots of ways you can make your meals healthier around the holidays without sacrificing all the good flavor. Try This: Get creative by using less of those ingredients that are piled high with saturated fats and cholesterol like butter, cream, and vegetable shortening. There are lots of healthy alternatives out there such as applesauce or even evaporated skim milk. We want everyone to be happy and healthy overall, and that requires baby steps sometimes. We hope these tips help you out, and if you have any questions about health and wellness we’d love to talk with you. Give our team a call and let’s set some health goals to make next year your best year yet!