Eau Claire (WQOW) - With holiday parties and extra baked goods in full swing this time of the year, it's easy to pack on the pounds.
Experts have a few tips, so you can enjoy the holidays, and not gain a belly like Santa Claus going into the new year.
Registered Dietitian at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, Heather Krieger, said people can gain up to five pounds during the holiday season, but it's preventable.
First, start your day off right. If you know you'll be attending a party later that day, eat a small healthy meal early on to prevent cravings and urges at the celebration. Krieger added it's important to go to a party with a game plan. During the party, fill your plate with a few of your favorite treats, but also be sure to incorporate other options like proteins, fruits and veggies.
Krieger adds it's a good idea to practice mindful eating at parties. She said you should enjoy your first plate while you're actively mingling and socializing, then either put the food away, or opt for healthier second helpings.
Another way to avoid holiday food anxiety, Krieger said is by asking the host of the party to help serve food instead of feeling obligated to, can help put your mind at ease.
"We all need to enjoy some of those favorites but planning ahead and being mindful about your portions is probably the key," Krieger said. "Making sure you know about what you have on your plate and then maybe putting the food away and maybe if you have those treats, try to decrease those portions to half, or share them with someone.
She also said beverages and cocktails can raise big red flags. Many drinks have empty calories and lots of sugar.
Krieger added if you're hosting an event, you could help your guests get some activity by planning or incorporating some sort of exercise, like a group walk before a meal or going outside to build a snowman.