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Weight gain during December is very common if we don't put some effort into avoiding those extra calories in holiday foods. Those dreaded holiday pounds can quickly sneak up on you if you are not careful. Here are some tips for cutting down the calories and avoiding the usual pounds we put on during the holiday season:

1st Tip - Get Another Taste Tester
If you are doing most of the cooking, you may be tempted to taste all the dishes along the way. All those little bites add up to quite a few calories. Ask someone else to be your taste tester instead.

2nd Tip - Don’t Nibble All Day
With all the holiday goodies sitting around the house it's hard not to munch on a cookie here and there or grab a handful of nuts and other holiday foods. Many people who are very conscious about what they eat the rest of the year break down in the during the holidays. They nibble here and there all day, then eat a full meal of holiday foods as well. Do your best to avoid nibbling. If you feel like you need a snack, drink a glass of water or eat a piece of fruit instead. Cut up some raw veggies and set them out to snack on. It's a much better snack, especially if you - like so many of us - snack out of habit and boredom, not because you are hungry.

3rd Tip - Stop after the first plate
Don’t go back for seconds. With all that yummy (and remember calorie-rich) holiday food sitting there it's not easy. But don’t go back for more! Eat your dinner and then stop. It takes your brain at least half an hour to realize that you are full. Give your body a chance to tell you that you don't need that second helping.

4th Tip - Drink Water
Another great trick to avoid overeating is to drink a big glass of water 30 minutes before a meal. You should also drink 6 to 10 glasses of water throughout the day to stay well hydrated. We often eat more when we are actually thirsty.

5th Tip - Use A Smaller Plate
You are going to fill up your plate with all those holiday foods sitting there. So use a smaller plate. Instead of using the big plates, grab a smaller plate to eat off of. You won’t be able to fit as much on it. Less food on your plate means less calories you’re taking in!

Find more great family recipes and meal planning assistance at Dine Without Whine