The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight gain. According to a recent survey, holiday eating can result in an extra kilogram or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. However the holidays don't have to mean weight gain. Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun and by implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the holiday season.

Ten Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating:

  • Be realistic. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
  • Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. An easy one to try is a 10 to 15 minute brisk walk twice a day.
  • Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  • Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favourite foods and skip your least favourite. Be sure to include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  • Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savour your favourite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
  • Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar. If you do have a few alcoholic beverages, try to have a glass of water between each one.
  • If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one kilogram. It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie!
  • Take the focus off food. Turn cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Look at planning group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
  • Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. Believe it or not, there may be others at the party that are looking for the healthy option also.
  • Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favourite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating.

Enjoy the holidays, plan a time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don't restrict yourself from enjoying your favourite holiday foods. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you.