07/03/2012 02:43 pm ET Updated Sep 02, 2012

Holiday Eating Tips: 10 Ways to Enjoy a Healthy Holiday Season

With summer season upon us and the Fourth of July around the corner, I've been helping clients struggle with issues surrounding holiday eating. With Independence Day falling in the middle of the week this year, and not sure which weekend to celebrate (license to overindulge), so many people that I have spoken to have decided to make it a 10-day holiday. Holidays are a time for pleasure and enjoyment, family and friends, and food should be enjoyed during this time. Whether you are going out of town, attending a summer barbecue, having a party on the beach, or just staying at home with your family, follow the principles of moderation.

Here are some tips and tricks so that you can have a healthy holiday season. Enjoy!!

1. Watch portion sizes.
  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but take a small portion.
  • Avoid portion distortion: Moderation is key.
  • Fill up on more fresh fruits and veggies. Follow USDA's MyPlate guidelines by filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies.

2. Banish your membership in the "clean plate club."
Leave a few bites over. Ask yourself: Am I hungry?

3. Be realistic about weight loss during the holidays.
Don't try to diet during the holidays. Try to maintain your current weight. At the very least, now is not a time to begin a diet.

4. Don't go to a holiday party starving.
Eat before you eat: Enjoy a healthy snack -- yogurt, fruit, veggie soup, salad -- before your event.

5. Balance party eating with other meals.

6. Don't skip meals. Make a plan.

7. Make only one trip to the buffet table.
Choose only the foods you really want, and keep your portions moderate.

The good news about buffets is that there will usually be some healthy choices. And so often, there will be a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. My rule of thumb: Do a lap around the buffet and sample the choices before making your selection. Take one plate of food (not five mini-plates), and make sure your plate is not piled so high that food is ready to fall off the plate. Eat until you are comfortably satisfied (and it's okay to leave a little room for your favorite dessert), and enjoy the company.

And finally, move away from the buffet table when socializing.

8. Eat your calories instead of drinking them.
Choose your beverages wisely. Remember that soda, iced tea, and lemonade all have lots of sugar and calories. Flavored seltzer, water, and unsweetened iced herbal tea are great choices.
And remember that alcohol is also high in calories. Moderation is key. Go for a white wine spritzer or a light beer.

9. Be a healthy host.
When you are the host, include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes.

10. Continue a regular exercise program.
Swim, take a bike ride, or even walk on the beach. Take advantage of being outdoors and choose an exercise you like. What matters most is that you move!

Finally, enjoy good friends and family.

Happy holidays!

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