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Keeping the pounds off this holiday season

December 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
It's easy to gain weight during the holidays, especially with all the dinners and parties, and mindless eating they bring. In fact, half the weight we gain all year comes during the weeks leading up to New Year's.

We all have our holiday food favorites, but overindulge and you'll pay the price.

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, most people don't ever lose the one to two pounds they gain during the holidays. The news is worse for those already overweight - they pack on five pounds. But you can get through the holidays without busting your waistline.

"So trying to balance out your meal and not choosing everything in the higher calorie version but maybe picking amongst your favorites," said dietitian Holly Pudwill.

Starting with appetizers, skip the cocktail meatballs weighing in at 85 calories each and load up on shrimp cocktail with just 13 calories per shrimp.

Now let's talk turkey. Should you go white meat or dark? While white meat has less calories, about 46 in an ounce, dark meat only has four more per ounce.

"So if you're eating a normal serving size like 4 or 5 ounces, you're really only saving 20 or 25 calories," said Pudwill.

Just trim the skin, that's where most of your fat and calories hide.

Pecan pie can pack a whopping 500 calories a slice. Pudwill suggests using less nuts and adding in some oats to slash 200 calories.

"And that's going to bump up the fiber while taking down the fat," she said.

Finally, treat alcohol, desserts, entrees and appetizers equally.

"You wouldn't have four desserts at a party, so picking only maybe two. Maybe you're going to have a drink and an entrée or you're going to have appetizers and dessert. Not all of them," said Pudwill.

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