Avoid Mindless Snacking During the Holidays


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Holidays are nearly always about family, friends and tradition. That's a good thing. However, one of those traditions revolves around food – often high-calorie, lavish displays that can test the willpower of even the most dedicated dieter. To meet your weight loss goals, develop some strategies to avoid mindless snacking.

Snacks can be beneficial because they keep your blood sugar stable. A small snack an hour or two before a holiday party or meal makes it much easier to face a groaning buffet table. Unfortunately, many of the snacks that are readily available during the holidays tend to be high in calories and low in nutrition, especially if made with processed or refined foods. Holiday beverages – especially alcoholic beverages – can kick up the caloric intake very quickly. And alcohol can lower inhibitions, which increases the risk of mindless snacking. Limit the eggnog to a small cup and choose sparkling water rather than a cocktail. Don't drink on an empty stomach.

Real foods like those recommended by the Metabolic Research Center (MRC) are always a better choice when it comes to choosing a snack. The key is careful preparation and attention to what you eat. Nutrient-dense choices like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, proteins and the right fats will be satisfying and provide important vitamins and minerals. Having the right kind of snacks handy helps you avoid mindless eating. These can be prepared ahead of time in many cases. For example, apple or celery slices can be easily combined with a little soft cheese spread (check the recipe section at MRC for other ideas). Carry a granola bar or some trail mix with you, especially if you won't have time to go home for a snack before a holiday party.

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