On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season. With July 4th right around the corner, here are a few simple tricks to avoid those extra unwanted pounds without sacrificing your favorite holiday treats.


1. Drink lots of water

We tend to consume more cocktails around the holiday season, which can lead to dehydration. The NAM (National Academy of Medicine) recommends that the average adult male consume 3.7 liters (15 cups) daily and 2.7 liters (11 cups) for the average adult female. When an individual is consuming alcohol, this number should be even higher to aid the dehydration effects, and make that hangover a little less severe. Hydration also has a huge impact on your hunger levels. We often mistake feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger, leading us to consume unnecessary calories. A good tip for avoiding unnecessary calories is to drink 16 oz. of water prior to eating.


2. If you are going to drink, choose your cocktails wisely

Avoiding alcohol can be extremely difficult during the holidays (especially on our countries birthday!). For a guilt free holiday, use these tips to help you make smarter decisions about your drink of choice. Although all alcoholic beverages cause us to drink calories with no nutritional value, there are certain alcohols that are healthier than others. Avoid dark beers and liquors, as they often contain more calories than the light ones. Simply put, stick to the rule of “the clearer the better.” Choosing a cocktail mixer is an important element as well. Seltzer or sparkling water are great low calorie options that can help cut your calories in half when consuming mixed beverages.

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3. Fiber is Your Friend


Decorating for the holidays normally involves lots of color schemes. You should treat your plate the same way! Fruits and vegetables will add flavor, color, and nutrients to your holiday favorites. High-fiber foods not only provide volume but also take longer to digest, making you feel full longer on fewer calories. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains all contain fiber. Adding any type of greens to your plate will also add a good portion of fiber to your meal.


4. Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals can be a popular strategy for holiday eating. Skipping breakfast and lunch to "save" all of your calories for dinner, will only lead to a slowed metabolism and overeating. If you don't have time to have a full sit down meal, try packing meal replacement bars or protein shakes, in order to help keep you full throughout the day as well keeping your metabolism in check. By not skipping meals throughout the day you will be less likely to overindulge during dinner or the main course of the holiday.


5. Resist the “Food Coma”

We all know the feeling we get after consuming a large meal with family and friends. The only thing you feel like doing is taking a nap or falling into a “food coma”. Try substituting that post meal nap with a light to brisk walk. That's right, walking is one of the healthiest habits you can have during the holidays, especially after a big meal. Multiple studies performed at the university of Arizona suggest that taking a brisk 15 to 20 minute walk after a meal can help ease digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels.

About the Author

Kevin Kochiss

Kevin Kochiss

Kevin has earned his M.S in Nutrition and B.S. in Exercise Science. He is an ISSA certified personal trainer and a NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist.