Holiday Survival Guide

Stay sharp and avoid the seasonal weight gain in 5 easy steps

There’s a good reason the biggest diet books of the year are released right after the new year; despite our best intentions to eat less, exercise more, and maintain some sense of restraint during the holidays, the endless gauntlet of party trays, buffets, and family feasts beats us into submission. Nearly all of us wake up on New Year’s Day a bit plumper than planned. But not this year. That’s because you’ve got a plan.

  1. Go Nuts 
    Nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals. They serve as a great source of protein and heart-healthy fats, and best of all they’re filling. Just avoid the candied and honey-roasted varieties—they’re loaded with salt and extra calories from sugar. Stick with raw or roasted nuts, especially almonds and eat them one at a time, not by the handful.

  2. Eat Smart 
    Holiday meals usually feature highly nutritious foods—pumpkin, sweet potatoes, turkey, green beans—but their preparation can lead to their nutritional downfall. For example, the pumpkin in a pumpkin pie contains virtually no fat, but a traditional flour-and-butter crust is a fat-bomb. Another example: baked or roasted sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, full of Vitamin A and fiber. But if they’re served in a bath of butter, skip ‘em.

  3. Hold Your Drink
    Whether you drink wine, beer or spirits, keeping a drink in your hand at parties is a great way to keep friends and family from getting you another one. And have a glass of water between drinks. This strategy will reduce the number of high-calorie alcoholic drinks you consume—and stop those calories from expanding your gut.

  4. Step Away from the Table 
    At parties, eating usually takes the form of mindless munching around the buffet while catching up with friends and relatives. Guess what? If you move your conversation across the room, or into another room, you’ll eat less.

  5. Skip the Pumpkin Spiced Latte
    Seasonal coffee drinks—pumpkin spice lattes, white hot chocolates, peppermint mochas and other sweet creations from coffee houses can pack meal-sized calorie counts. A 20-ounce White Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, made with whole milk and topped with sweetened whipped cream, registers a whopping 640 calories—100 more than a Big Mac.