The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but did you know that Americans each gain an average of 1 pound during this time? That might not seem like a lot, but it may be one of the biggest contributors to your total annual weight gain.

The good news, however, is that holiday weight gain is not inevitable. As a dietitian, I like to put the tips listed below in action to ensure I am doing what is best for my body during this busy time of year.

Be active with family and friends. It is common for families to engage in a lot of sitting during the holiday season. Getting up and going for a walk instead of sitting after dinner is a great way to bond with loved ones, as well as burn off some calories!

Watch your portion sizes. It can be easy to overload your plate with seasonal dishes, and thus also overload on calories. By limiting your portion sizes, you can try the foods that you want without overdoing it.

Keep meals balanced with protein. Holiday meals are typically very rich in carbohydrates, but low in protein. You are promoting fullness by including some protein with every meal, and it can also be useful for weight maintenance.

Limit liquid calories. Alcohol, soda, and other calorie-rich drinks are common during the holiday season. These drinks contain a significant amount of empty calories, which can lead to weight gain. Allow yourself to have one of these drinks and then switch to water or tea.

Below I have included a delicious seasonal recipe that includes citrus, which is abundant in the winter months. This recipe is packed with protein and can make a tasty and unique holiday meal.

Kaitlin Bruun is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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