During the holiday season it can be tricky to monitor eating habits, especially with all the delicious holiday cookies and pies. However, these eight strategies from Harvard Health can help you practice moderation so you can start the New Year healthy.

Don’t linger 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 that we’ve eaten much more than we intended. Slow down and enjoy the meal and be mindful of how much you are eating.

Watch your portions: 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 persuade 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.

Keep a food journal: Keeping track of what you are eating may help curb your appetite. Ask yourself whether you are eating because of hunger or boredom. Often boredom leads to snacking, and writing down everything you eat can help you see just how many calories you are consuming between feasts.

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

Be mindful of what is on your plate: 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 not only helps with digestion, but it will also allow you to get in some exercise. Some people tend to forget about exercise when they are traveling for the holidays. Making an effort to keep up with your exercise regimen will boost both your physical and mental health. Even if you don’t have the time for your normal run, just getting up and being active can still help with weight control.


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