Breland gives tips on avoiding holiday weight gain

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is a challenging time to maintain healthy habits. The increased exposure to unhealthy foods, lack of time and structure, and the time change are all factors that can affect weight gain. Jessica Breland, RD, a registered dietician with Hattiesburg Clinic Weight Management, recently discussed how to avoid holiday weight gain. 

“One important thing is to practice portion control. Eat slowly. Chew your food thoroughly. Eat from a smaller plate,” Breland said. “Filling up on [lean] protein is one of my tips for managing holiday eating. Protein is filling and lasts longer. Eating larger portions of protein-rich foods and smaller portions of combination foods, which are likely to carry more calories due to the combined ingredients, will reduce how many calories you are likely to take in during the meal.” Combination foods are any single serving of food containing two or more of the required meal components. Some examples include dressing, spaghetti, beef stew and pizza.

With a bit of planning and mindfulness, it’s entirely possible to navigate the holidays without packing on the extra pounds. Here are some practical tips to help you avoid holiday weight gain and stay on track with your health and fitness goals:

  • Don’t skip the workout. Breland suggests people work out at least 150 minutes per week. This is a great backup to the intake of higher-calorie foods this time of year.
  • Don’t attend the holiday dinner, potluck or party hungry. Eating a balanced meal before heading to a holiday dinner, party or potluck will help curb your appetite. 
  • Bring a healthy option to the holiday dinner or potluck. Bringing a healthy option will ensure that you have a nutritious option.
  • Eat from a smaller plate and practice portion control. Using a smaller plate creates the illusion of a fuller meal.
  • Find nonfood-related activities. Taking walks and playing games with friends and family are great ways to prevent unhealthy snacking and overindulging. 

Mindful eating, regular physical activity and smart choices will help make navigating the holiday season without gaining weight more possible than you think. Implement these practical tips, so you can enjoy the festivities while maintaining your health and wellness.

Follow the link to watch the full interview: