Undoing Holiday Damage, Plus No-Guilt Trail Mix Fixes!

Sharebtn Click the share button to confirm. Do it now!

Hi HG,

So... I REALLY overdid it during the holiday season. I kind of threw my diet out the window and gained about seven pounds. What do I do?!?

Holiday Hangover

Hi Holiday Hangover,

First of all, try not to panic. What's done is done. The best thing you can do is to put it behind you and move forward with a good attitude! That said, here are some ideas to get you back on track...

If you're hung over from holiday food, clear out your stash... a.k.a. your pantry and fridge! Get rid of those half-eaten boxes of chocolates, giant tins of decadent popcorn, leftover desserts, and whatever other tempting indulgent goodies are residing in your kitchen. You don't need 'em! Replace them with guilt-free foods so you're always prepared for a smart snack or meal. Need help? Click here for our most recent supermarket list!

Try a week of "clean eating." While I'm ALL about low-calorie craving busters as alternatives to fattening favorites, I'm also big on filling your diet with tons of nutritious stuff. Think lean protein (skinless chicken breast, shrimp, egg whites, etc.), fresh fruit (Fuji apples are fantastic), and lots of veggies (chopped romaine for salads, broccoli slaw, sugar snap peas, and steamable bags of frozen veggies). When it comes to carbs, go for fiber-packed versions like brown rice (watch those portions!) and high-fiber light bread. Sticking to these basics is a good way to shake off the excess eating you did over the holidays.

Eat at home more often. While there definitely are smart options you can order at restaurants, and the availability of nutritional info is helpful, you never really know how many calories and fat grams are in your meal. An extra tablespoon of cooking oil alone adds over a hundred calories and double-digit fat grams. If you want to kick-start your New Year's diet plan, dining out less often can really help. When you do eat out, keep it simple: salads without fatty toppings (light dressing on the side; dip, don't pour!), plain lean protein (like steamed seafood or broiled chicken breast), and steamed veggies. If you don't see what you're looking for on the menu, just ask! Even if the menu lists sautéed spinach as a side, they might be more than happy to steam it for you.

Increase your daily activity... Every little bit helps. Don't have time for an hour-long workout? Go for a fast-paced 20-minute walk in the morning. And all those "move more" clichés -- take the stairs, park further away at the mall, etc. -- are clichés for a reason... THEY WORK! The small things add up, so take every opportunity to move more and get your heart rate up when you can.

Finally, do NOT miss this Friday's email. It's a brand-new year, people, and now's the time to develop good habits and embrace better-for-you eating. This coming Friday's email is PACKED with a slew of great resources and ideas to do just that. Happy 2013!

Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm a big snacker, and I really love trail mix. I try to avoid it because I know it's high in calories and fat... especially when you snack as much as I do! Got any suggestions so I can enjoy my favorite treat without guilt?

Mixing It Up

Hi Mixing It Up,

Glad you asked! Trail mix is kind of a "food faker" -- meaning it seems like a smart choice, but it's packed with more calories and fat than people realize. It's fine -- even good -- in small doses, or if you're burning major calories doing something like hiking. But if you're munching on it straight from the bag at home, you should know that a single cup has around 550 calories and 25g fat. Eeeks! That's why it's important to find portion-controlled options. One of my favorites is Crum Creek Mills Brilliantly Blended Soy Nut Mix -- just 131 calories and 8g fat (PointsPlus® value 4*) per individually bagged ounce, and it tastes GREAT. It's pretty much only available online, but it's reasonably priced and worth ordering! When it comes to supermarket staples, there are a lot of trail-mix-inspired snacks on shelves. Kashi's Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars are great and have just 140 calories and 5g fat each (PointsPlus® value 4*). Nature Valley makes a line of chewy trail mix bars too. There's also Emerald Breakfast on the Go! -- nut and granola mixes in single-serving pouches, each with 180 - 200 calories and 7 - 10g fat (PointsPlus® value 5*). Those come in insanely delicious flavors!

In need of LARGE servings that satisfy a craving for trail mix? Check out this Party Poppin' Trail Mix recipe! And click here, here, and here for more HG snack mixes. Microwave popcorn (94% fat-free) takes center stage in most of these recipes because you get a huge serving for not a lot of calories -- it's a great way to bulk up the denser, higher-calorie goodies. You can even use it to supersize a serving of your favorite trail mix! Freeze-dried fruit is another all-star ingredient. Unlike conventional dried fruit, it's light and airy with an impressive serving size for its calorie count.

If you're feeling creative and want to make your own 100-calorie mixes, play around with the ingredients on our DIY 100-Calorie Packs page. So much fun! And for a trail-mix-inspired b-fast, whip up this Happy Trail Mix Yogurt.

Hope I've given you enough new ways to enjoy trail mix guilt-free. Happy trails!

Did a friend send you this? SIGN UP NOW & get your very own DAILY Tips & Tricks!

Today, January 2nd, is National Cream Puff Day. Celebrate with our totally decadent (yet completely guilt-free) Caramel Swirl Cream Puffs. Yum squared!

Have a question for Hungry Girl? Send it in! She answers new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).

Click here for a printable, text-only version of this page.

We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints
® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.

Hungry Girl Inc., 18034 Ventura Blvd. #503, Encino, CA 91316