Posted by Marisa Schor

The holiday season is upon us, with Halloween festivities just around the corner. Both kids and adults enjoy the fun holiday parties and baskets filled with treats. With dinner parties and high-calorie candies everywhere, it is not easy to resist the temptation. Studies have found that Americans gain more weight during the holiday season as compared to the rest of the year.1 But holiday weight gain can be controlled.

Here are simple tips to help you enjoy the holiday season, while avoiding the “uninvited” weight gain.

  • Exercise: With several parties and festivities, plan your diet accordingly to include healthy meals and enough exercise during the non-festive days. Exercising will help you feel better and keep yourself in control of your plan.
  • Plan ahead: Eat a snack or salad before going to a party to control your appetite. It is all about strategizing!
  • Enjoy in small quantities: Before feasting, scan all the dishes being served. What do you see? Start with the vegetables and later move on to calorie-dense foods. Enjoy all, but, in small quantities. Being full from the fiber and water-filled veggies will help you minimize your servings of calorie-rich foods.
  • Small flatware: Use a small (salad-size, 7-8 inches in diameter) plate and pile your food. Don’t use a large plate! You will not notice the difference, trust me on this! Enjoy a small portion of everything you like, once!
  • Eat slowly: Train your brain to sense fullness (like when you were a child) by eating slowly. Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you are full? In those 20 important minutes, your satiety hormones (that regulate our appetite) receive signals from our stretched-stomach, messaging that we had enough to eat. Listen to your body!
  • Avoid junk food: When hungry, avoid feasting on chocolates or chips. Instead, eat a combination of fiber and protein-rich foods with every meal; it will help you control your weight.
  • Sharing is caring: ALWAYS share dessert with a friend or family member.
  • Healthy substitutes: Prepare your favorite dishes with sugar-free alternatives and healthy substitutes. An example: Substitute plain, fat-free Greek yogurt for butter. When you have sugar cravings, try a low fat dessert like angel food cake or seasonal fruit.

It is important to enjoy the holiday season, but do so by eating smart and staying active. Happy Halloween!
1Marissa Laliberte. ‘Tis the Season — When Americans Will Weigh the Most All Year. The Healthy. Retrieved from Accessed [October 21, 2019].
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