Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

December is here and along with a dusting of snow in many places, so too come the holiday parties, cookie exchanges and cravings for winter comfort foods.  It’s hard not to gain a couple of extra pounds this month but year after year of putting on an average of a pound each holiday season can catch up with older adults.    And studies have found that already overweight adults can put on an added five pounds during a season filled with rich foods and cocktails.  Most weight gain isn’t lost during the other months of the year and can really add up over the years.

It’s easy to find excuses not to exercise due to inclement weather or other commitments but this is exactly the time to get more physical activity to offset any indulgences over the holidays.  Adding some weight training in the morning or a brisk walk in the afternoon can help boost metabolism as well as ward off any seasonal blues and relieve some of the stress that often surrounds the holidays.

Plan ahead for parties and meals:

  • Decide what special treat you will allow yourself and take time to really enjoy it
  • Don’t allow endless refills of wine or beer, switch to water or chew a stick of gum
  • Choose protein or veggies for d’oeuvres rather than sweets or carbs
  • Don’t keep sweet treats on the counter to tempt you
  • Make healthy menu swaps like using broth instead of cream in mashed potatoes

Dessert Swap:

Baked Pears with Cinnamon Honey


  • 3 medium pears
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter (vegan if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 400F.

Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Cut the ends off, then cut the pears in half. With a spoon, gently scoop out the core and seeds using a circular motion. Place the pears face down in a 9×13-inch glass dish or large baking sheet.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey, butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Warm the sauce over low-medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Carefully spoon the sauce over the pears, reserving some of the sauce for later.

Bake the pears for 30-35 minutes, until slightly soft and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Spoon a small amount of the leftover sauce over the pears when serving.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 6 |  Serving Size: 1/2 pear

Per serving: Calories: 117; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 1mg; Carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 17g; Protein: 1g

Source:  Wheatless Kitchen

Did you know that a 4-ounce slice of beef wellington has 606 calories but the same portion of beef tenderloin only has 174?  For more holiday food swaps that can save you hundreds of calories this season visit the myfitnesspal blog here