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Posted on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Healthy holiday eating doesn't have to be difficult

By Melissa Gerharter MS, RD

The following is a guest blog post from Kathryn Stobinski who is currently doing a rotation with Melissa Gerharter at Joust strength and Fitness. Kathryn is a senior dietetic student at Eastern Michigan University and hopes to work in the clinical or community setting after earning her RD credentials .

Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and approaching quickly. With that stress from the holidays and plethora of delicious holiday treats, it can be easy to go a little overboard.

The National Institutes of Health said that holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two of weight gain each year. Here are some easy to follow tips about how to eat a little bit healthier during the holidays, but sill enjoy your time with family and friends!

1. Keep healthy snacks nearby. Have some cut up vegetables and sliced fruits in the refrigerator that can be easily paired with a yogurt or vegetable dip. You can also make your own snack mix by popping some popcorn and adding nuts and dried fruits to it.

2. Don't skip meals. As tempting as it might be to not eat while out on the run or to make up for overeating the night before, it can be more harmful than helpful. Try to at least eat something small for a snack, like yogurt with some berries and granola or hummus with vegetables.

3. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. With the wide selection of delicious foods at holiday gatherings, it can be all to easy to overeat while trying to try everything. Using a smaller plate like from the kids table or a dessert plate is a good way to keep portions in check.

4. Eat slowly and mindfully. Savor each bite of the food you take, fully enjoying what you are eating. If you're talking with friends and family, this happens naturally by eating while having a conversation.

5. Be careful with the beverages you consume. Having a cocktail might not seem like an issue, but if you has a few, it can cause you to overeat. Non-alcoholic beverages can be just as harmful with all the calories and sugars they contain.

6. Make dishes with decreased amounts of fat and calories. In baking recipes that call for eggs and whole milk, instead use egg whites and skim milk. For that traditional pumpkin pie, make it without a crust to cut some calories without affecting that delicious taste.

The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself and the company of family and friends. There's nothing wrong with indulging once in a while, but practice moderation.

Melissa Gerharter MS, RD, CSSD is co-owner of Joust Strength and Fitness of Ann Arbor. She is also a part time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University and can be reached at melissa@joustfitness.com.