Monday, December 5, 2011

Avoiding Weight Gain During the Holidays

by Anna Bruckmann, RD, LDN, CSO

Did you know that the average American gains 5-7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, and the average Holiday meal is 4,000 calories! If you love food as much as I do, you know how hard it can be to turn down the delicious food and drink at holiday parties. It’s rude to say “NO” and who wants to be the prude at the party not eating anything. NOT ME! But, I also want to fit into my New Year’s Eve dress! What a dilemma! Well, I’ve found a way to have both, the food and the dress!

Here are some helpful hints to avoid looking like Santa Claus for New Years and still enjoy your Holiday Parties:

  1. Don’t go to the Party on an Empty Stomach! This will only lead to overindulgence. Make sure you eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch that day. You can eat a healthy snack 30 minutes before showing up to the party. Try eating some vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, a bowl of cereal, a handful of nuts, or a half of a sandwich as a pre-party snack. This will keep you from overeating and consuming more calories than you normally would if you had hadn’t eaten beforehand.
  2. Drink Plenty of H20! Stay hydrated and save calories by drinking water instead of having a sugary drink or another glass of alcohol. If you like to have your totties during the holidays, make sure to alternate a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. Choose your drinks wisely and try to plan how much you are going to drink ahead of time. Average calories in those holiday drinks: Eggnog with rum (1 cup): 370, Peppermint hot chocolate (1 cup): 380, Holiday punch (1 cup): 234, Crantini (1 cup): 200, Spiced cider with rum (1 cup): 150, Red wine (5 ounce): 120, White wine (5 ounce): 120, Champagne (5 ounce): 120, Vodka tonic: 200, Regular beer (12 ounce): 150, Light beer (12 ounce): 100.
  3. Sweat it Out! Don’t neglect your workouts during the holidays. Burning those extra calories will allow you to eat more of those foods you love. Plan exercise dates with your friends to keep each other accountable. Go for a long walk or jog, play a game of tennis/basketball/soccer, or take a fun new exercise class together. Try to get in at least 45 minutes of moderate exercise 4-5 days of the week (you don’t have to get it all in at one time).
  4. Take a Breather! Make sure to sit back and enjoy the party by socializing with your friends and family or meeting someone new. Try putting your fork down between each bite and chewing slowly, it’s not a race! It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full. Try to stop eating when you are satisfied not full, you don’t have to be in the clean plate club anymore!
  5. Enjoy everything in Moderation! Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite things. Use smaller plates and get smaller portions of all the things you love to eat. And most importantly, Enjoy!

Happy Holidays and Happy Healthy Eating!

Anna Bruckmann is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist with a Certification in Oncology Nutrition. Bruckmann has a private practice as a Regional Delicious Dietitian in Nashville, Tennessee! I have a passion for nutrition and helping others! She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management from The University of Alabama. Follow her on Twitter @annabnutrition!


  1. Anna you smart smart woman! I think #2 on this list is what i'm going to have the hardest time sticking to....moderation moderation.

  2. #3 is my problem! well ok #5! but I always lose weight over the holidays so this doesn't apply to me. Love, Dad