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Healthy Holiday Survival Guide: Thanksgiving Through The New Year

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11.21.14
 

The holidays are officially upon us! Check out some common concerns for this time of year, and HG ways to get you through to January...

 
 

Holiday Survival Tip: How to Avoid Calorie Overload at Parties "I'm going to a holiday cocktail party, and I want to enjoy myself without consuming TOO many calories. Any tips?"

It's completely possible to find a balance here... Before the soiree, eat sensibly throughout the day, and have a light snack before you head out; this way you'll be less tempted to overdo it on all those hors d'oeuvres. And drink lots of water, before and during the party -- staying hydrated helps you avoid confusing thirst with hunger. Sipping alcohol? Alternate with glasses of H2O, and stick with smart selections: a glass of wine, a bottle of light beer, or a mixed drink made with a single shot of clear alcohol (like rum or vodka) and a calorie-free mixer (like club soda or diet soda). Click here for our big Happy Hour Survival Guide -- totally crucial for these situations!

 
 

"How do I keep from inhaling everything in sight at a big holiday dinner?"

That table is likely to be loaded with heavy sides, fatty meats, and starchy dishes. But there are plenty of ways to keep yourself under control. As mentioned above, eating beforehand and drinking water are really important. Also, make exercise a priority before the meal -- you'll probably be consuming extra calories, so BURN extra calories too! And bring along a guilt-free dish of your own to contribute -- both because the host will appreciate it AND so that there's an item on the table that you don't have to second-guess. Then survey your options before diving in. Fill most of your plate with lean protein and vegetables. (Just watch out for buttery, oily, and cream-covered veggies.) Then take small servings of your favorite indulgent items!

 
Holiday Survival Tip: How Not to Overdo It at Dinner
 
 

Holiday Survival Tip: How to Enjoy Seasonal Treats "I cannot resist those special seasonal flavors; what are my best bets?"

Those limited-time flavors -- pumpkin, peppermint, eggnog, and more -- can be hard to pass up! When seasonal treats start calling your name, consult this list, chock-full of recipe swaps for the most tempting flavors of the season. One easy go-to -- candy canes! A full-sized peppermint candy cane has about 60 calories, and those little ones have about 15 calories a pop. Out and about? Look for calorie counts on those restaurant items (in stores and online). When in doubt, order items that are on the petite side; if you're choosing a coffee drink, look for one that's sugar-free and made with nonfat milk (and skip the whip!).

 
 

"I may as well give up on eating smart over the holidays, go crazy, and then start up a diet in the New Year... Right?!"

Ummm... Bad idea. That would just make it harder to get yourself in gear in the New Year. But it is the season of celebration, so moderation is the name of the game! When you're not in special-occasion situations, eat really smart to balance out those indulgences. It's the perfect time to embrace the 80/20 rule -- eat right 80 percent of the time and loosen the reins the other 20 percent.

 
Holiday Survival Tip: How to Avoid Diet Procrastination
 
 

Holiday Survival Tip: How to Keep Houseguests (and Yourself) Happy "I've got houseguests for the holidays. I want to be a good host and cook delicious holiday meals and comfort food... but I don't want to sacrifice my own eating habits."

Hey, who's the one cooking here? YOU! So while it's great that you want to set the stage for your guests to enjoy themselves, you don't need to do so at your own expense. Click here for a huge roundup of holiday-friendly HG dishes that the whole family will adore. And check out these recipes for guilt-free comfort food. P.S. Preparing breakfast for a houseful of people can be stressful -- a batch of Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Muffins or a Good Morning Mega Quiche could be just what you need.

 
 

Holiday Survival Tip: How to Make Quick Holiday Eats "ACK! I need to throw together some holiday-appropriate foods FAST -- help me, HG!"

Having time-saving ingredients on hand is CRUCIAL. This list here features terrific recipe shortcuts, such as mini fillo shells (HELLO, spur-of-the-moment appetizer!), refrigerated dough sheets, and light ice cream in fun flavors (scooping dessert is easier than making it!). For more grocery-shopping assistance, check out our latest supermarket list.

 

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CHEW ON THIS:

Today, November 21st, is National Gingerbread Day. (Some say G Day is in June, but what sense does that make?) Quick tip! If you're dying for one of Starbucks' Gingerbread Lattes, don't despair. If you get a Tall without whip, made with nonfat milk, it'll have 150 fat-free calories. Treat yo'self…

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