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Ten Ways to Beat the Holiday Eating Bulge

It'​s the holiday season, the wonderful time of the year where sweet treats and calorie-laden dishes tend to pop up everywhere: at home, work, and holiday parties. The average American gai​​​ns one pound during the holidays, which they tend to never lose.

Use these ten tips to help survive the holiday bulge and maintain your heart-healthy diet:

  1. Eat a protein-heavy breakfast to set a healthy tone for the day, and keep you full until lunchtime and cut cravings for sugary treats and junk food. Try a veggie filled omelet or peanut butter toast.
  2. Before the day gets away from you, sneak in a workout. Get your gym workout out of the way before that evening party. Go early in the day and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
  3. Be up on your feet as much as you can — while shopping, cleaning, and maybe a little dancing at holiday parties! The more active you are, the more calories you'll burn.
  4. Try having a small protein-packed snack before heading out to holiday parties — such as an apple with peanut butter, or string cheese and crackers. The protein will help you feel full and less likely to overeat later.
  5. A salad plate holds less food — therefore you eat less. Don't pile the food on — place reasonable portions on a small plate and if you're still hungry thirty minutes later, go back for more protein or vegetables.
  6. Go light on dishes prepared with butter, cheese, and cream. Instead, choose dishes prepared in olive oil, vinaigrettes and various herbs and spices.
  7. Pass on foods that won't keep you satisfied for very long, like white bread, white rice, white potatoes, etc. Choose whole grain goodies and vegetables that are filled with fiber which will make digestion easier and provide long-lasting energy without spiking your blood sugar.
  8. Set your fork down in between bites — it's known that it takes the brain about twenty minutes to tell the stomach that it's full. Give your brain time to respond to your fullness.
  9. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one or two drinks for the night. Choose light beers and wine. Always ask your doctor before consuming alcohol to be sure it won't interact with any of your medications.
  10. The holidays are for creating good times with family and friends. Concentrate on conversations, rather than the tempting holiday foods.

Executive Chef Craig FordFood of the Month: Sweet Potato

  • What: Sweet and starchy
  • When: Mashed, baked, roasted, grilled, pureed
  • Where: Casseroles, pies, muffins, baked goods
  • Why: Excellent source of vitamins A, B and C, plus offers fiber and potassium
  • How: Choose medium-sized potatoes with no blemishes or sprouts