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How to navigate the holiday season without gaining weight

PicnicOur defenses tends to drop this time of year. For some of us, it starts with Thanksgiving. For others, it started with Halloween. We tell ourselves it's OK to indulge just one day. We rationalize that we only get a particular item once a year. The problem is, we stick with this mentality all through the season, and before long our clothes are feeling snug.

We eat not because we're hungry but because we're mad, sad or glad. And after we eat, or in some cases overeat, we get mad at ourselves and then we eat more, says Maureen Franklin, a registered dietitian at Upstate University Hospital at Community-General.

Listen this morning (9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 4) as she speaks on Health Link on Air radio about strategies for getting through social gatherings without messing up good eating habits. Some of her advice:

* Consider that you have a food budget each day, and you must decide where you want to spend each calorie.

* At parties, hold a drink that you don't particularly like so you won't drink much of it, and so your hostess does not keep pushing beverages on you.

* Add seltzer water to your wine to reduce overall calorie intake.

* At buffet tables, choose a desert or salad plate so you don't have space for too much food.

* Keep temptation away by not sitting near the buffet table.

* Make dips using Greek yogurt rather than sour cream, adding seasonings or fruits.

* For healthy food-related gifts, consider a collection of whole grains and a pot in which to cook them, heirloom seeds for gardening, or oils with herbs and vinegars in fancy bottles.

Hear Franklin's radio interview.