The Best Healthy Holidays Tips from Shape Magazine

In a live video chat yesterday, Shape magazine’s senior associate health editor Bahar Takhtehchian shared her best tips for beating the bulge during this holiday season. The chat was sponsored Fiber One, which is launching a new line of high-fiber brownies. Aside from all the tempting holiday foods, Takhtehchian says it’s easy to gain weight this time of year because “a lot of people associate eating with relaxation.”girl exercising while wearing a santa hat

Takhtehchian says that by planning to make smart meal choices, you can avoid unwanted weight gain despite the many temptations of the holiday season. Her first big tip is always eat a filling breakfast, even if you know you’ll be eating something rich later in the day. Starting the day with a meal that has plenty of protein and whole grain, which can keep you fuller throughout the day and less tempted to eat something you shouldn’t. In the afternoon, Takhtehchian recommends eating a lighter lunch and a snack. “Snacking will rev up your metabolism,” she explains, as long as you pick foods with plenty of fiber, like a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit. For those with a sweet tooth, she also suggested the Fiber One brownie. “One of the benefits of fiber is that it does keep you full,” she says.

The health editor also offered tips for navigating holiday parties. Takhtehchian advises against ever going to a party feeling hungry. “When you show up starving, you know what happens,” she says. “You eat everything in sight.” Instead, eat a filling meal before arriving. Cocktails are another healthy diet downfall, not only because they’re loaded with calories but also because one drink too many will lower your guard against unhealthy foods. Pick cocktails that are low in sugar, and swap soda water for tonic. “Vodka soda is one of my favorites,” she says, adding that you can give this drink a kick with a wedge of lemon or lime. Another good strategy to avoid extra calories is to drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage.

Of course, your holiday shouldn’t be devoid of your favorite foods. “You can indulge in different things as long as you add more exercise,” says Takhtehchian. Try to find an exercise buddy and together you can keep each other accountable. On days you’re too busy to get to the gym, make small changes, like using a stability ball instead of a chair, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking farther away.

Combine a little planning with these these smart choices, and you can stay on track through this holiday season. To give readers an extra boost, we’re giving away a fitness gift package full of great gear that will keep you moving.

Winner Selected 11/11/11: Tiffany

Win a holiday fitness package plus a one-year subscription to Shape!
Eligibility: Post a comment below telling us which food is your worst holiday temptation.

Drawing: One winner will be drawn and announced 11/11/11 and awarded with a one-year subscription to Shape and a prize package including a yoga mat, stability ball, water bottle, pedometer and two boxes of Fiber One Brownies (valued at $72.95).

*DISCLAIMER: Only residents of the U.S. are eligible to win. DietsInReview.com will draw one winner November 11, 2011 and will notify winner via the email used in the comment form. Winner has five business days to respond and claim prize or forfeit prize. DietsInReview.com may replace the prize with one of equal value if prize is not available. Prize value is $72.95; not redeemable for cash. Prize provided by Shape magazine.

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