From Thanksgiving to the New Year’s Eve toast, the opportunities to overindulge are nearly endless. Enjoying the food is a big part of enjoying the holiday, but it doesn’t have to add inches to your waistline. Here are some tips for getting through the season without adding extra pounds.

From Thanksgiving to the New Year’s Eve toast, the opportunities to overindulge are nearly endless. Enjoying the food is a big part of enjoying the holiday, but it doesn’t have to add inches to your waistline. Here are some tips for getting through the season without adding extra pounds.

Minimize mindless munching. Nibbling before and after a big holiday meal is a sure way to add significant calories. Between the eggnog, cheese ball, homemade cookies and candy, it’s easy to top 1,000 calories before sitting down to dinner. The same goes for the goody trays in the break room at work. What to do? Survey the culinary landscape and decide what you really want. Keep the portion reasonable and then leave the food table.

Use high-protein and high-fiber foods to your advantage. Lean meats, fish and low-carbohydrate vegetables can help you feel full when you’re hungry without a burdensome load of calories. Have ready-to-eat veggies with hummus, a cheese stick with fruit or a Greek yogurt cup to help curb your hunger.

Enjoy the turkey, but don’t gobble. This isn’t an eating contest, so slow down! Truly enjoy the rich pleasure of the foods you don’t get every day. Let the food linger on your tongue. You may discover a sense of satisfaction with a meal with far fewer calories when you take time to enjoy the food you’re eating.

Beware of liquid calories. A cup of regular eggnog can have up to 500 calories, and that Starbucks white hot chocolate with whipped cream will cost you over 500 calories and 16 g fat. Factor in alcohol, sugar-loaded punch drinks, hot cider and more and see how liquid calories add up. What to do? Choose “light” or “diet” drinks and drink lots of water. Choose hot tea or coffee in place of hot chocolate or cider.

Get moving. Some people would rather burn it up than give up tasty holiday foods. If that’s the case, plan physical activity into your day. Go outside with the kids to toss the football around, grab your music and take a brisk walk or shop at the mall instead of online. Simply moving more can help burn off extra calories, tone your muscles and work off some of the holiday stresses.

Use MyPlate as a guide. The government’s new food icon, MyPlate, is a guide that can help you get balanced nutrition and make better food choices at holiday meals.



Cranberry, cherry and walnut marmalade

Serves 16 (1/4 cup each)

Active time: 10 minutes | Total: 2 hours (including cooling time)

Fresh cranberries get crunch from walnuts and an infusion of sweetness from dried cherries in this take on a classic marmalade. Leftovers are great on a turkey sandwich.

All you need:

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup port or other sweet red wine

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries

2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

All you do:

1. Combine sugar, water, port (or wine), cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cherries and cook for 1 minute. Stir in cranberries; return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until about half the cranberries pop, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. Stir in walnuts and orange zest. Let cool completely. (The marmalade will thicken as it cools.) Serve at room temperature or chilled.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Note: A nonreactive pan – stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass – is necessary when cooking acidic foods, such as tomato or lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

Nutrition facts per serving: 105 calories; 3g fat (0g sat, 1g mono); 0mg cholesterol; 17g carbohydrate; 10g added sugars; 2g protein; 2g fiber; 2mg sodium; 53mg potassium.