Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Seven Tips and a Recipe from Gwinnett Medical Center

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Some studies suggest that the average American gains as much as ten pounds during the holiday season. Other studies say it”s only one pound, but it adds up year after year, and contributes to America”s high rate of obesity. Regardless of whether it”s one pound or ten, most people will agree – the holiday season is a challenge.# Here are seven tips and a recipe to help you enjoy the season without weight gain.

1. Control Temptation
It may not be the holiday meals that pile on pounds as much as it is the casual treats – at work, out shopping, or visiting with friends. Make a list of places where you”re likely to encounter temptation, and plan for them. For example, choose hot tea instead of high-fat specialty drinks if you”re meeting a friend at a coffeehouse.

2. Get Moving
Add more movement to your life. Extend your daily walk by ten minutes, or sign up for an exercise class. Park at the far end of the grocery store lot, or walk around the airport during holiday travel to burn a few more calories.

3. Eat More – Aim for Seven a Day
Eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This will help fill your stomach with low-calorie, high fiber foods. Keep whole fruits on the counter. Cut up vegetables and pre-pack them in single servings in your fridge.

4. One a Day
Limit your holiday treats to no more than one each day, and keep the portion small.

5. Learn to Say “No, Thanks.”#
Instead of feeling forced to eat foods because people offer – or insist – learn to say no politely: “Everything was delicious, but I couldn”t eat another bite.”# Just because it”s on your plate doesn”t mean you have to eat it.

6. Fill Your Plate Wisely
Watch the drinks and appetizers, as both can pile on the calories. At dinner, fill half your plate with salad and vegetables, one quarter with meat and the final quarter with starch. Eat slowly and enjoy the company of friends and family. After all, that”s what the holidays are really about!

7. Plan Ahead
Eat a healthy snack before you head out to a party. And bring a dish to share such as low-fat hummus and veggies.

Here”s a healthy recipe from the dietitians at Gwinnett Medical Center, guaranteed to be a hit at any holiday gathering. Visit for more healthy and tasty recipes.

Guilt Free Hummus
1 # c. cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
# c. nonfat plain yogurt
1 T. chopped parsley
1t. minced garlic
# t. ground cumin
# t. ground cayenne pepper
1t. lemon juice (or more, to taste)

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, yogurt, parsley, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Process until well blended. Taste to adjust seasonings. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Serve with broccoli, celery, red peppers, carrots and raw green beans.

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