How to Enjoy the Holidays and Maintain Your Waistline

Face it: You’re likely going to end up at a fair share of holiday parties this season. Whether you’re volunteering at your child’s classroom cookie party, taking trips to the taco bar at a catered work event, or simply gathering with friends and family for one too many beers and a jam-packed potluck, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate! But the temptation to overindulge is bound to linger at every table.

Luckily, there are many ways to enjoy yourself without undermining your health. Before you ring your next host or hostess’ doorbell, anticipate the presence of rich foods and strategize accordingly to engage in healthier behaviors this holiday.

1. Stick to sample-sized portions

One of the easiest ways to enjoy your holiday season without having to buy a new pair of jeans come January is to engage in portion control. It can be hard to decide what to put on your plate a party, whether it's a Thanksgiving smorgasbord or a Christmas feast. If you limit the size of each item to a sample portion, you can try several dishes without the guilt. Aim for portions roughly half the size of a dollar bill, depending on the dish, and be sure to notice the pleasure of eating and sensation of feeling full.

From the cheesy potato casserole to the sweetbreads and fudges so ubiquitous at holiday meals, you can enjoy a little of each of your favorite flavors while still reducing overall caloric intake!

2. Burn the excess calories with interval training

For those who are unfamiliar, interval training is one of the most effective means of burning calories. When we compare time investment to calories burned, few exercise regimens are as efficient and worthwhile as interval training. Not only does this method help increase your metabolism, it also simultaneously improves endurance, strength, and flexibility. Sign up for a training session to offset the extra holiday eating.

3. Limit the holiday cocktails and beers

Alcohol is a significant source of excess calories during the holidays. Additionally, alcohol tends to increase stomach bloating, causing that uncomfortable and undesirable “beer belly.” By carefully limiting your alcohol consumption and opting for lower-calorie options rather than dark beers or sugar-laden cocktail mixes, you can reduce your calorie intake and mitigate the overall impact of the holiday season on your health and weight.

4. Bring something healthy

The most surefire way to ensure there is at least one healthy option to eat at a holiday get-together? Bring it to the party yourself, of course! Whether it's a veggie tray, baked chicken breast, or a naturally low-sugar dessert, there are plenty of tasty treats that can leave you and your fellow guests feeling full and satisfied without backpedaling health-wise.

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