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4. Relax during the holidays as much as you can. Emotional stress and anxiety can aggravate bad eating habits (such as compulsive overeating or undereating).

5. Whatever you do, keep exercising! Staying on track with your exercise program is particularly important during the holidays. This will help reduce stress and keep your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn just maintaining your body) high.

6. Keep portions to a minimum. As hard as this sounds, try not to eat those "till you explode" large meals. Passing up seconds will usually do the trick. I know everything tastes good, so bring leftovers home and enjoy the whole dinner again -- tomorrow.

7. Make better choices. When confronted with the typical holiday nibbles, know which ones are more likely to fit into your healthy eating plan (dishes that are lower in fat, higher in fiber, and higher in important nutrients).

8. BYOD (Bring your own dish). Offer to bring foods to the party or holiday meal that you know willbe a healthier choice. You can bring lower fat/lower calorie renditions of favorite holiday foods.

9. Try ingredient substitutions. It's amazing what a difference a few ingredient substitutions can make. Here are a few examples:

  • Use light cream cheese instead of regular in your holiday dips, spreads, and cheesecakes to trim about 16 grams of fat per cup of cream cheese.
  • Use a great tasting fat free sour cream for dips, spreads, and potato dishes, and cut about 320 calories and 35 grams of fat per cup of sour cream.
  • Use reduced fat cheese in your appetizers and side dishes. This will cut 36 grams of fat and 320 calories for every 8 ounces.
  • Make your dips, side dishes and appetizers with a mixture of real mayonnaise and fat-free sour cream (for every cup you need, blend 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream). This will trim more than 1,000 calories and 132 grams of fat per cup of mayonnaise.
  • When using eggs in a recipe, try using half real eggs and half an egg substitute (1/4 cup of egg substitute replaces one egg). Or, use egg whites in place of some or all of the whole eggs in the recipe (two whites replaces one egg).

For more ideas on making your holiday goodies healthier, check out Smart Substitions.

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