A Nutritionist’s Guide to the Holidays

Backyard Dinner Party

We caught up with our resident nutritionist, Jessica Marcus, to get her tips to avoid gaining five pounds this holiday season. Read her insider tips and tricks!

Temptations await this holiday season, but you can still enjoy the traditional fare without threatening your jean size. This is how I beat holiday weight-gain:

Bring a veggie. Few people like to volunteer to bring a vegetable dish to the holiday dinner (and no, mashed potatoes don’t count). Find a delicious recipe that makes your mouth water and can help fill you up without weighing you down. The guests will appreciate having a guilt-free dish, and everyone will want the recipe. Think: carmelized Brussels sprouts, a gorgeous crisp salad with homemade dressing, glazed carrots, or Joy’s slimmed-down creamed spinach.

Sip seltzer. It’s the holidays and wine will be flowing. Avoid carrying a wine glass around all night – continuous refills can lower your inhibitions so you’ll eat more. (Not to mention each generous pour sets you back 150 calories.) Instead, make the decision to have a pre-dinner cocktail and perhaps one glass of wine with dinner, but stop there and switch to a fancy seltzer. Include a splash of cranberry juice and a brightly colored lime garnish to make it feel special. The added hydration will leave you bright-eyed the morning after.

Commit to dessert. Eye your dessert before dinner. If you go into the meal knowing you want dessert, you’ll hopefully eat less at the meal to “save room.” If you tell yourself you won’t eat dessert, you’ll eat dinner until you’re full and then (let’s be honest) eat dessert on top of that. Choose your splurge ahead of time and ENJOY it! Better yet, bring your own lighter-version dessert (like this guilt-free pumpkin pie) as a safety net.

Pass on carb-y apps. Once you start eating carbs, it can be hard to stop. There’s a reason a major slogan is “Betcha can’t eat just one.” Just don’t go there – it’s a losing battle! Plus, simple, refined carbs like white bread cause a blood sugar spike and crash, which makes you even hungrier when the dinner is served. Need to nibble? Stick to the veggie tray, which, contrastingly, will actually fill you up with water-rich, nutrient-packed and low-calorie goodness that will help you eat less at dinner.

Tame your growling tummy. People think that starving themselves before a big dinner will help blunt the blow to their waistline. So wrong! Arriving famished will lead to impulsive grabs and overeating. AND, it can mess with your metabolism. Instead, have a snack (less than 200 calories) about an hour before so you’re prepared to make sensible choices. Think: lightly salted almonds, a cheese stick and an apple, or Nourish Snacks Raise The Bar-BQ It features salty peanuts and bbq-spiced chickpeas – both of which dish up natural protein and fiber to help you pass on the giant bowl of party mix that’ll be staring you down when you arrive.

Wishing you a happy holiday!

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