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Shelly Barnes: Holiday survival tips to avoid adding extra pounds

Shelly Barnes • Updated Dec 28, 2016 at 8:00 PM

‘Tis the season to count your calories. While many of us struggle to make mental calculations about our food consumption, some other techniques can be helpful to those of us trying to prevent holiday weight gain.

Here are my top 10 tips for weight management during the holiday season: 

1. When a holiday social event is planned for the evening, do not starve yourself all day. It is ridiculous to starve yourself so you can gorge at the event. This will lower your will-power and lead to overeating so in the long run, you will consume more calories than if you had eaten normally.

2. If it is not a dinner party, then eat dinner before you go. This will prevent hunger and help you make better food choices at the event.

3. Offer to bring an item. Make something really tasty that is also healthy. Most hosts/hostesses appreciate the offer.

4. Drink lots and lots of water.

5. Try to avoid the alcohol. If you are going to drink make sure that you drink one 8-ounce glass of water for every glass of wine or cocktail you consume.

6. Instead of alcohol, pour some sparkling water into a wine glass and sip on it. That way no one will try to give you a “drink.”

7. At the food table, be reasonable. Fill up on veggies and fruit first. Then go to lean proteins (if available) such as shrimp. Protein will help you resist the fat- and sugar-laden foods.

8. Portion control is important all year, but it’s vital when faced with a daunting supply of high-fat and even higher-sugar foods at holiday time. Choose the healthy food choices first to help you resist the temptation of the fattening foods.

9. Reminiscing with relatives is great, but why not bond with them and stay in shape at the same time with a game of touch football or even a long walk around the neighborhood?

10. If you “fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon” at some point, simply go back. It is important to never give up. Determination is the key to success.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached atsbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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