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5 Tips to Maintain Healthy Eating Habits Over the Holidays March 13, 2010

Now that Halloween is over and all the candy is eaten, the grocery and department stores are already filling themselves up with the next holiday temptations. Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, a big part of the celebration will probably center on fatty foods and drinks. Even the healthiest eaters are prone to cast aside their good habits for another plate of turkey with gravy and an extra piece of pie.

If you are determined to maintain a healthy diet throughout this party season, there are ways you can stick with your weight loss program without feeling left out. Nothing is worse than passing on your favorite holiday treats. After all, they only come around once a year, right? Instead of missing out, simply change the way you approach the temptations. Here’s how…

Healthy Habit Maintenance Tip #1: Use A Smaller Plate

Sometimes it is not what is on a persons plate that makes them gain weight, but rather the big portion they give themselves. One tradition you can do without is stuffing yourself until your belt buckle bursts. Portion control is key to losing weight no matter what time of year you make healthy eating goals.

Instead of giving up your favorite holiday foods, simply use a smaller plate and eat less. Wait at least two hours before you go back for seconds and sip on a few cups of hot herbal tea in the meantime to keep you feeling satisfied. Losing weight does not have to be the chore that most people make it out to be.

Healthy Habit Maintenance Tip #2: Alter Recipes

If you are the person in your family who is doing all of the cooking, you have the upper hand. Using low fat ingredients like egg substitute, applesauce for oil, reduced-fat cheeses and fat-free sour cream will go virtually unnoticed by you and your guests. The more colorful you can make your plate with fruits and vegetables, the healthier you will eat.

Just because your grandmother used to drown everything in fatty butter and gravy does not mean it is a tradition you need to carry on with. Just remember not to snack all day long while you are cooking and then eat a huge meal. Many times it is the cooks who gain more weight than the customers because they do not realize their fingers are constantly grabbing for samples.

Healthy Habit Maintenance Tip #3: Eat Before You Go

Do not arrive at parties on an empty stomach unless you want to end up overeating. Many times when you attend a party, the food is different from what you normally eat and you will be tempted to sample everything new that you see. Going to a holiday party empty stomach is like letting a child loose in a candy store.

Drink a healthy protein shake before you go, or a nice big glass of ice water. There is no harm at trying new things, but making sure your tank is half full before you go will allow you to make decisions based on your stomach and not on your eyes. You will probably still want to sample that 5 cheese and salsa dip, but you won’t want to eat half the bowl.

Healthy Habit Maintenance Tip #4: Keep Yourself Active

One of the key components to good health is exercise. We all know it and it is more important over the holidays than any other time of year. Most people promise to join a gym after the holidays, but the problem with that is how they live during the holidays. They eat more than usual and when judgement day comes, they have their work cut out for them.

You can find ways of moving around more without going to the gym before New Years Resolution time comes around. Offer to do the dishes after Thanksgiving instead of plopping yourself down on a recliner in front of the TV. Grab a long lost relative during a party and walk around the block. The more you move around, the more calories you will burn.

Healthy Habit Maintenance Tip #5: Forgive yourself

If you do surrender to temptation, forgive yourself and get back on track the next day. One overindulgent evening will not destroy all the previous days that you maintained your healthy habits. Holidays are usually more about one day though, so make sure that you do not make a habit of spending every evening at a different party filling up on junk food.

The key to losing weight and maintaining an ideal weight is leading a healthy lifestyle. This means you are making healthy choices about what you eat and you are keeping yourself active with daily exercise. It also means that you should not give up the things you love just because you are afraid to gain a pound. Tomorrow is always a new day, but the choices you make the night before can dictate how your new day will go for you.

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