Sidestep holiday weight-gain traps

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Want to wake up on New Year’s Day without regretting all those cookies, latkes or bubbly holiday toasts? You can, with these 10 ways to sidestep the season’s naughtiest waistline threats with nice alternatives.

Naughty No. 1:

Two-fisted eating and drinking

Nice: Always keep one hand free when you’re at get-togethers — for handshakes and friendly waves. An appetizer in your right hand and a drink in your left guarantees you’ll down more calories, faster.

Naughty No. 2:

You’re cooking fatty or fried dips, dishes and desserts

Nice: Create a gorgeous veggie or fruit dish. One report found folks who bring produce-based dishes to parties are seen as better cooks and — get this — better people! Roast autumn vegetables; make a luscious butternut squash soup, thread fruit on skewers or toss frozen raspberries or pomegranate seeds into a fruit salad, and top lightly steamed asparagus with olive oil and toasted almond slivers.

Naughty No. 3:

Letting the buffet table tell you what to eat

Nice: Survey the offerings first. Three out of four party-goers take 66 percent of their food from the first three items on the buffet table. When high-fat and high-calorie fare is first, that works out to 31 percent more food!

Naughty No. 4:

Showing up hungry

Nice: Munch six walnuts before you arrive. Crunching about 70 calories’ worth of fat, like the good kind in nuts, 30 minutes before a meal squelches hunger so effectively that you’ll eat up to 36 percent less. This trick stimulates satisfaction hormones and dials down appetite-stimulating ghrelin. Twelve almonds, 20 peanuts or a shot glass of pine nuts also works.

Naughty No. 5:

Stress

Nice: Finding time to relax. Ongoing tension from work, the kids, shopping, wrapping gifts and juggling crazy family dynamics at Grandma’s annual Christmas dinner boosts levels of appetite-stimulating cortisol, so you reach for more high-fat, carb-rich goodies. Physical activity, breathing exercises, yoga, even time with friends can tame tension.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.

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