http://www.runnersworld.com

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

By Leslie Bonci, Runner’s World
11/18/2013 10:52:14 AM

A whole lot of calories present themselves in the months leading up to the holiday season--like fruitcakes, turkeys, cookies and Hanukkah gelt. And let's face it; you're probably not going to run 20 miles every day between now and the New Year to burn off those goodies. So what to do? Follow these tips to create an eating plan and you can enjoy the holidays without overdoing it.

PLUS: The Ultimate Supermarket Survival Guide

Credit: Runner's World

Eat on schedule

Skipping a meal in preparation for a food fest later in the day will set you up for an overindulging disaster. Make sure to eat breakfast if you're planning on a mid-day holiday meal, and breakfast and lunch if your holiday meal is in the evening.

Go for the occasional rather than the mundane

This is the time of year when everyone showcases their favorite recipes-from sweet potato casserole, to potato latkes or a Yule log. Enjoy these once-a-year classics and skip the foods you could eat anytime, like chips, cheese cubes and rolls.

PLUS: The Golden Rules of Weight Loss

Beware of buffet dinners

Beware of the fat traps at a buffet style dinner. Start with a smaller plate to prevent from overloading on too much food. When you've created your plate, back away from the buffet table. Opt for foods that require some utensils and foods that are colorful (and no, not M&Ms).

Try to include liquid-containing foods like soup, stew and chili, which taste great and leave you feeling full. Watch what's in your glass as well, champagne and wine pack fewer calories than rum or eggnog. Remember, you don't have to eat the whole holiday platter-that's what leftovers are all about.

BEWARE: The Top Social Fat Traps

Plan your meal wisely

If you're making the meal this year, think about an alternative menu. Serve a festive fondue using lean meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, vegetables and salsa, honey mustard or tamari. Roast winter vegetables-squash, peppers and sweet potatoes-with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Fill pasta shells with spinach, ricotta and chunky tomato sauce.

Consider altering your recipes slightly for a healthier spin. Try using lemon or basil flavored olive oils to season vegetables and breads instead of butter. Use evaporated skim milk as cream in sauces or make a crust-less fruit tart instead of a pie.

If you do make those indulgent items, consider making a smaller amount, or serving smaller pieces (use mini muffin cups for cheesecake, cut the brownies smaller, or serve the casseroles with smaller spoons instead of ladles).

PLUS: 6 Runner Foods That Make You Smarter

Continue Reading on RunnersWorld.com >