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Is avoiding weight gain on your holiday wish list?  You’re not alone. Research shows people gain up to 4 pounds during the holidays. While that may not sound like much, most people never lose the weight. That can add up to 40 pounds or more over 10 years.

Holiday the healthy way with our recipe for Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cookies.

These tips can help you savor the flavors of the holiday season without unwanted weight gain.

Make a list and check it twice. Decide which foods are worth eating and which can be avoided. Savor favorite foods and special holiday dishes — and skip foods you can eat any time.

Remember portions. Study all the food options at a dinner or party and think of what you are going to have before you put anything on your plate. Another tip: Choose a small plate. Numerous studies show that if you use a larger plate you are likely to eat more.

Keep water and rest on your nice list. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to get out of healthy routines. Try to drink 24 ounces to 32 ounces of water (three or four 8-ounce bottles) a day, and get a good night’s sleep. Being well hydrated and well rested can keep cravings away.

Pass on high-calorie holiday beverages. Gingerbread lattes, peppermint mochas, eggnog, hot chocolate and alcohol all add up in calories. Keep liquid calories to a minimum. Stick to calorie-free drinks like water, tea and seltzers. If you choose to have alcohol, limit the amount and have it with food.

Use healthier substitutions in cooking. Try using low fat milk instead of whole milk, low fat sour cream instead of regular, applesauce instead of oil or using half the butter in recipes – all without sacrificing taste. Offer to bring a healthy dish to the holiday party — shrimp cocktail, a vegetable or fruit tray, a crustless pie or baked sweet potatoes. Check out these 19 tasty, healthy substitutions.

Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. “I’m going to gain weight anyway so why bother” may lead to extra pounds in the new year. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up if you overindulge. Make a plan to move more and get back on track.

Move. Exercise plays a critical role in overall health and weight management. Think through your week and make time to move more. If you are short on time, split exercise into small amounts. Even a little exercise is better than none at all – and may lead to even better habits in the new year. Check out these exercises you can do while seated.

Start your resolution to eat healthy — before New Year’s Day!

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