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6 New Ways to Change Your Bad Holiday Habits


6 New Ways to Change Your Bad Holiday Habits
Do you throw caution to the wind each holiday season and then make resolutions to diet those extra pounds away come Jan. 1? Change your attitude this year and break the cycle so you can ease into the new year! It's the same story for a lot of people every year — they work their butts off to look great for the holidays, then they throw all of their progress away by indulging in every craving throughout the season. The best way to approach this time of year is to arm yourself with a plan! Use these tips to healthfully navigate the holidays. 

Tip #1: Plan How You'll Approach Holiday Events
Naughty Habit: Go hungry, stand by the buffet, and sample everything — the catered hors d'oeuvres, too!
Nice Habit: First rule of thumb: Never go hungry. Always have a snack filled with protein before attending any holiday party. It will help you stay full and stay away from those high-calorie appetizers and desserts. Stand far from the buffet so you're not tempted to grab a plate and load it up. Instead, fill up a dessert size plate with veggies and munch on those to curb your cravings.  

Tip #2: Remember Mini Can Be Major
Naughty Habit: Not counting the small bites
Nice Habit: The latest trend over the past few years is to serve cute, small bites at parties. As adorable as they are, these tiny tastes can pack a hefty, caloric punch. A lot of people will graze on these mini dishes and not keep track of how many they're eating — big mistake. If you continue on this route for the entire holiday season, you'll definitely notice a change in your waist line. Stick to the rules in tip #1, and if you can't resist these mini-bites, only have one or two, maximum! Just because they're small, doesn't mean you can lose track of counting them.  

Tip #3: The Extras Count Too
Naughty Habit: Add condiments like whipped cream, ice cream, or more to holiday dishes Nice Habit: Condiments count too! It feels festive to add whipped cream or ice cream to your coffee or dessert, doesn't it? Same goes for a dollop of ranch dip for your veggies, a remoulade sauce on top of a crab cake, hollandaise sauce on your veggies, or gravy to your meat, but the truth is those extra sauces for sides and condiments to meats can send your calorie count soaring. Make smarter choices this year — if it's thick and creamy, it doesn't belong on your plate. Instead use some spices to add a kick of flavor!  

Tip #4: Cook Healthier Dishes
Naughty Habit: Giving into your family's wishes and making everything they ask for — whether it's healthy or not
Nice Habit: If your kids or significant other want a cheese or carb-laden casserole, they can make it themselves! There is no rule that you have to bake dozens of cookies, cakes, pies and then some. The dishes don't make the holidays great, it's the family, friends and fun. Turn over a new life this year and healthify all of your holiday foods. Here are a few examples: Steam green beans and sauté with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and almonds, make baked potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of serving mashed potatoes loaded with butter, and serve white meat without the skin. Those are just a few ideas to get your mind turning! If you think about it, there is a way to healthify nearly every dish – it just takes a bit more thought and planning.  

Tip #5: Avoid Alcohol
Naughty Habit: Sample every "holiday" drink at parties this season
Nice Habit: At most holiday parties the booze is free, so why not indulge a little? Well… Once you have a drink, your body eats up all of the glycogen in your liver, makes you hungry and reduces your inhibitions, so you're more likely to start eating those bad-for-you appetizers or doing something you may later regret. Don't forget — alcoholic drinks contain calories too! A 20-ounce serving of beer can pack 250 calories, a 6-ounce glass of wine contains 120, and a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor contains about 100. If you must have a drink, choose wine which may protect the heart and help lower inflammation. One drink probably maxes out the benefits though, so I'd stop there.  

Tip #6: Don't Be Afraid to Say No
Naughty Habit: Say "Yes" to every invitation and wear yourself out before New Year's Eve Nice Habit:Pick and choose which holiday events you'll attend — you don't have to go to every single one! The less temptation the better, so only go to the events you're most excited about. Rushing from place to place or being exhausted can trigger emotional eating. Put your health first and only hit a few special events throughout the season.

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