Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain


The holiday season means loads of festive fun. For most of us, this also means there will be a variety of holiday treats in our kitchens. After all, would it really be the holiday season without mom’s homemade Christmas cookies or grandma’s famous fudge?

All of these tasty seasonal delicacies can often lead to some mild weight gain, which as college students, we are already trying to avoid. Here are some practical tips to avoid packing on pounds while still enjoying some of your favorite dishes this holiday season.

Stay Active While You’re Snacking

Some of the places we do the most holiday eating is at family gatherings or holiday parties, where we are surrounded by loved ones and great food. One easy way to avoid the next-day guilt from your calorie intake at these shindigs is to find a way to be active while you are at them. Start a game of touch football in the backyard in between dinner and dessert, or get some sort of dance party started. Small activities like this will get you and all your pals moving without you even noticing, and the more time you spend throwing touchdown passes or getting down to “All I Want for Christmas is You,” the less time you’ll have to keep refilling your plate.

Use a Smaller Plate

This is a classic diet trick, but it is one that can be especially useful the next time you are at a holiday party. Completely filling up a smaller plate will make you feel like you are eating more food than a partially filled full size plate. Smaller dishes also allow for you to keep a closer eye on portion size, which will help you avoid overeating at holiday parties.

Choose your Sweets Wisely

We all have certain seasonal treats that we look forward to and ones that we eat because they’re in front of our faces. Though practicing self-control in this aspect can be difficult, but it’s one of the best ways to avoid weight gain. Before binging on all the treats laid out on the counter, think about which ones you have been waiting all year for. Been thinking about peppermint truffles since July and haven’t given gingerbread a thought until you saw them on the table? Then treat yourself to more than one truffle and leave the cookies off your plate. Savor the sweets that you genuinely enjoy, and avoid the fillers.

Make the Treats You Have Difficult to Access

Laziness often beats cravings. It’s unrealistic to think that you will be able to keep all of the holiday goodies out of your home, but you can keep yourself from constantly grazing by making these snacks more difficult to access. Place the cookies on the top shelf of the cupboard so you have to get a chair to stand on in order to reach, or store the ice cream in the freezer outside. If it is not easy for you to grab, often times you will decide you don’t actually need it that bad.

Limit the Amount of Baking that You are Doing in Your Home

Even if you are making all kinds of yummy stuff to give away to friends and family, resisting the urge to sample whatever you are making is often impossible. Even if it is another family member who is doing the cooking, try to avoid the kitchen while they are making the dish. A small taste test doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you are making food for multiple people and parties, eventually all those small taste tests add up.  

Of course, gaining a pound or two during the holiday season isn’t a huge deal and is often impossible to avoid. However, engaging in a few mindful snacking habits like the ones mentioned above may help you to prevent yourself from overindulging.