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Dear Dietitian – Tips to avoid holiday – and year-round – weight gain

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PICT Leanne McCrate Dear Dietitian
Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC

Dear Readers,

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I grew up in a farming community, and by late November, the harvest was usually complete. Crops that were a year in the making were out of the fields, and rest could be had. The weather had turned to a cool, crisp air, and there would be a crackling fire in the fireplace on Thanksgiving Day.

As we give thanks on this day, many will gather with friends and family. We will indulge on turkey and dressing and all the fixings, and the feast may carry on into the evening. The holiday season has begun, and it is filled with cookies, candy, and pies. 

Americans gain an average of one pound during the holidays. Well, I have to be honest – last year I gained four pounds! Not so good to be above average, huh? Do you want to prevent weight gain this year? Here are some tips that may help:

  • Eat breakfast. Consume this meal just like any other day. A healthy breakfast anchors your appetite for the rest of the day, and will help prevent overeating at the main meal.
  • Eat one plateful of food. This is one of the best ways to prevent overeating. Choose the foods you love, but don’t go back for seconds. You won’t feel deprived since you’ve made the food choices you want.
  • Fill up on salads and vegetables. You’ll get some much-needed fiber and have less room for the high-calorie foods.
  • Stop eating when full. It’s ok to be full; just don’t stuff yourself. Feeling stuffed is uncomfortable anyway, right?
  • Drink lots of water. Water helps you feel full and prevents dehydration. When we are dehydrated, we are more likely to overeat.
  • Enjoy one dessert. Try to limit yourself to one serving of pie or cake.
  • Alcohol. If cocktails are a part of your day, limit yourself to one or two drinks. Alcohol has a lot of calories and lowers your inhibitions, making it easier to grab another slice of deliciousness. 
  • Chew gum afterwards. The chewing action gives our mouths something to do, so you will be less likely to pick up a bite of this or that.
  • Brush your teeth after Thanksgiving dinner. That minty fresh taste won’t mix well with a bite of sage-seasoned dressing.
  • Focus on something other than food. Play a game, watch football, or socialize. The holidays are a special time to catch up with friends and cousins.

Finally, if you eat more than planned, don’t beat up on yourself. Get “back in the saddle” the next day, and be thankful. 

Until next time, be healthy!

Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC, aka Dear Dietitian is an award-winning dietitian based in Missouri. Her mission is to educate consumers on sound, scientifically-based nutrition. Do you have a nutrition question? Email her today at Dear Dietitian does not endorse any products, health programs, or diet plans.