Eating during the holidays can sometimes be a tricky thing to monitor. Especially with all the holiday cookies and pies, some may find themselves eating much more than usual. You should not focus on losing weight during the holidays, set a realistic goal of maintaining your weight rather than trying to shed those pounds. Here are 8 strategies for eating during the holidays:

Don’t stand near the treats: Standing near a bowl of treats can tempt you to snack when you are not hungry. Making a conscious effort to stand away from the goodies will help you control the amount you are eating between meals. If you are tempted, take a small handful and walk away to prevent you from over snacking.

Focus on your food: When you are eating lunch or dinner, concentrate on your food. Sometimes we can get carried away in conversation and may not realize you have eaten much more that you intended. Slow down and enjoy the meal and be cautious of how much you are eating.

Watch your portions: You do not need a huge heaping pile of potatoes. Start with a small serving of your favorite holiday foods. If you clean your plate and are still hungry, then go back for seconds. Odds are you will fill yourself up on the first plate. Having more food than you are able to eat on your plate may encourage you to keep eating when you are full. Using smaller plates, such as salad plates, will also help you with portion control.

Avoid buying snacks: Sometimes we can get carried away in the grocery store, especially around all the holiday goodies. Make a list of what you will need before you go to the store and stick to it. That way you will not be tempted to buy the snacks that may not be as healthy. Do you really need three kinds of pie? Try replacing one with a vegetable instead.

Keep a food journal: Keeping track of what you are eating may help curb your appetite. Ask yourself, “am I hungry or am I bored.” Often boredom leads to snacking and writing down everything you eat can help you see just how many calories you are eating between feasts. Similarly, leaving empty wrappers or bottles in view can be a great reminder that maybe you already had enough.

Don’t skip meals: Eating a good breakfast has been proven to prevent you from overeating later on in the day. Skipping a meal may cause you to be very hungry come next meal time. Eating small meals with appropriate portions is the best way to stay on top of your calorie count for the day.

Be cautions of what is on your plate: Maybe you do not really need that second helping of dessert. Wisely choosing the foods on your plate can better help you control your calorie intake. Pack your plate with foods such as leafy greens and vegetables rather than cornbread and potatoes. Making an effort to eat healthy during the holidays can greatly lower your risk of gaining holiday weight.

Walk it off: Take a walk around the block after meals. This will not only help with digestions, but it will also allow you to get in some exercise before the next course. Some people tend to forget about exercise when they are traveling for the holidays. Making an effort to keep up with your exercise regime will help prevent you from gaining unwanted holiday weight. Even if you don’t have the time for your normal run, just getting up and active can still help with weight control.

To learn more about eating healthy during the holidays, visit the CDC's website.

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