Don't fret about overeating during the holidays. Worrying too
much may push you to overindulge. So relax and keep moderation in
You may think that the average American gains five pounds during the holidays, but Joy Short, the director of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis
University in Missouri, notes that this popular notion is an exaggeration. "Most
people, if they gain anything, pick up one-half to two pounds," she
says. Still, a pound every year can add up.
Short offers tips for the diet-minded—which may help you
stick with healthy foods in moderation:
Think color when putting food on your plate. The white
plate—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes gravy and a roll—should
be counterbalanced with colorful and more nutritionally valuable fruits
Some "bad" foods are better than others. While
pecan nuts have been linked with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, pecan
pie is loaded with calories. However, apple pie has less sugar and calories, and
is also a good source of beta-carotene.
Hard cheeses have less fat than soft cheeses. Picking the
most flavorful ones, notes Short, is a good way to eat smaller portions.
Also, it's better to choose multigrain crackers over buttery
If you drink, alternate with water; dehydration causes
hangovers. Skip the eggnog, since it's high in saturated fat. Stick
with red wine and dark beer, which have antioxidants that may help fight
cancer and heart disease.
Go for fewer toppings—be it gravy, dressing or sour
cream—and dish up smaller portions. "After all," says
Short, "the first bite of an indulgent food tastes like the last.
You don't really need a huge amount to satisfy your
"When you obsess about what to eat at a holiday gathering,
you get into that all-or-nothing mentality," says Short.
"Then you overindulge and that leads to self-defeat."