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Resisting comfort food during the holidays is no easy feat. From office parties to family festivities avoiding creamy mashed potatoes or your grandma's mac and cheese is nearly impossible. Add the stress of wedding planning to the mix and before you know it you're on a downward slide into carb fest. We get it. So before you drown your sorrows in eggnog here is an easy guide to eating, drinking and being merry without gaining a muffin top.
Make a Plan
Short of hiding out until January 2nd there is no way to completely avoid the endless trays of fatty foods you will encounter. So we say, beat them to the punch and offer to supply a healthier version of your holiday weaknesses. If you make it yourself, you have control of the ingredients. "The key to enjoying yourself starts with striking a balance between enjoying seasonal treats and making smart choices," says Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brianna Diorio. Here are Diorio's food swaps to try.
Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
Steam your veggie, and then mash it with a little olive oil and sea salt. If you want to make it a little creamier, add coconut milk.
Roasted sweet potatoes instead of candied yams with marshmallows.
Wash and slice your yams in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30-45 minutes.
Real cranberry sauce instead of canned cranberry jelly.
Combine one bag of frozen or fresh cranberries with cinnamon, nutmeg and 3/4 cup pineapple juice in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Once it thickens reduce to a simmer and add the juice of a fresh orange. Allow the mixture to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and chill in the fridge for four hours.
See More: Tips to Help You Slim Down Like a Celeb
While a drink or two won't ruin your figure, alcohol can really pack on the pounds, says Suzanne Bowen fitness guru and creator of BarreAmped. "Brut Champagne is my favorite drink on earth and it's lower in calories than other spirits," she says. If bubbly isn't your thing but you still want to indulge, "make it a point to order a seltzer water with lime between each cocktail," says Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook. "It helps to keep you hydrated [and is filling], which can stop you from overindulging." she says. Her other suggestion: sip it slowly and sexily. You can also try this under 80 calorie festive mocktail, a fave of Teri Jory, creator of POISE Fitness Technique, which is a combination of martial arts, ballet, pilates and body sculpting.
Blend three cups of frozen unsweetened cranberries in until almost smooth. Add ice, one cup of orange juice, its zest and 3/4 cup of maple syrup. Blend again.
Keep it Moving
Unfortunately, there is no substitute for exercise if you want to melt away unwanted fat. Plus, physical activity is your body's best friend for reducing the effects of stress. The fastest ways to see results in minimum time is by combining resistance training and cardio, says New York Health & Racquet Club Master Barre instructor, Celeste Garcia. "Using resistance tools like long bands, and jumping rope works wonders," she says. Here are her favorite easy moves that you can do anywhere.
Plank/mountain climbers, pilates bridge with a ball between your inner thighs, jumping rope, c-curve abs with long band around your feet to add resistance. Do each exercise for one minute, 4 times each.