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5. Holiday Game Plan: No Weight Gain

The challenges of holiday feasting are only too obvious -- wonderful smells and fabulous tastes. We do love our comfort food! But the traditional holiday weight gain is another matter. If it's a real problem for you, here's good news. With a few simple changes, you can enjoy the feast without gaining the extra 1 to 3 pounds that tend to become permanent baggage.

Here's your plan:

  • Don't arrive starving. Eat something small and healthy, like oatmeal or a whole-grain sandwich, before the big meal. That will keep you full until dinner.
  • Exercise every day. This means big holidays, too. Get the family out with you. Start a new holiday tradition that involves activity.
  • Establish ground rules with yourself. Eat dessert, but only a sliver, for example.
  • Keep track. Write down everything you eat. If you put it in writing, you're less tempted to overeat.
  • Eat smaller portions of high-calorie dishes. Enjoy, but don't pig out.
  • Save calories for the foods you love. Don't eat something just because it's there.
  • Chat more, eat less. Shun those high-fat appetizers at holiday parties.

If you know you'll have trouble resisting those favorite foods, plan for it. Cut back on eating early in the week. Get more exercise before and after the holidays. You can do this!

6. Sweet Potatoes: Winter Superfood

It's one of the sweetest ways to make a healthful change -- get hot about sweet potatoes. These luscious orange tubers boast a wealth of antioxidants; phytochemicals including beta-carotene; vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; copper; iron; and potassium. The fiber in sweet potatoes promotes a healthy digestive tract, and the antioxidants may play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer.

The natural sweetness of a roasted sweet potato is delicious without any additional fats or flavor enhancers.

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