By Amy Kubal MS, RD

Here are 12 tips to help you stay healthy, sane and the same size this holiday season:

1.) Deck your appetizer buffet with vegetable and fruit trays, shrimp platters, nuts that are still in the shell (provide nutcrackers), and sparkling water with lemons and limes; instead of cheese and crackers, cookies, candy, and eggnog. Keep you and your loved ones “Merry and Light”!

HolidayWeight2.) Plan your attack. Decide which seasonal treats are worth the indulgence and which ones you can pass up. Go in with a plan to beat the buffet!

3.) Host a Paleo holiday gathering. If your friends and family are on board; this one will be EASY! Assign each guest a “course” – appetizer, entree, side, salad, dessert, drink, etc., to bring to the party. And if you aren’t fortunate enough to have ‘paleo posse’; supply your guests with recipes and/or directions telling them exactly what to bring!

4.) Start a new holiday tradition. Instead of the yearly “cookie swap” try a Paleo “soup swap”. Everyone brings a specified quantity of a soup and let the trading begin! Be sure to have the soup makers provide recipes!!

5.) Sweat! Exercise is important – especially during the holidays!! Make it a family activity – go for a walk, play in the snow, head to the basketball court. Whatever you do, don’t take an extended vacation from all activity, unless you’re making a run for next year’s mall Santa…

6.) Turn out the lights. Sleep!! During this high-stress season it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting adequate shuteye.

7.) Hold it steady – your weight, that is. The holidays are not the time to start working on those ‘last 10’ or first ‘20’ pounds. Just focus on not making the situation worse!

8.) Stay hydrated – with WATER!!! Thirst is often confused with hunger. Dehydration might drive you to the cook jar and also leave you drowsy. Choose water instead of eggnog, cider, alcohol, cocoa, soda, and juices. Save room for the good stuff – the food!!

9.) Enjoy your FAVORITE seasonal treats in moderation. READ: Two dozen cookies is NOT moderation!!

10.) Keep it simple! The holidays don’t have to be epic and elaborate. If Christmas dinner is burgers and brats that’s okay! Think outside the box – it doesn’t have to be traditional to be special!

11.) Say no. If you’ve been invited to every party in town it’s okay to not go to all of them! Remember that your sanity counts and if staying home watching “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” sounds like a little piece of heaven in comparison to the party; there’s your sign! Stay home, relax. There’s always next year…

12.) Lastly, keep in mind the true meaning of the holidays. It’s not about food, presents, decorations, and parties. It’s about being with the people that we care about most. As long as you remember that; you are sure to maintain your health, sanity, and waist size this season.

Happy Holidays!!!

Written by Amy Kubal, MS, RD, LN, Paleo Dietitian – Amy is a Registered “Paleo” Dietitian and the ring leader of Robb Wolf’s RD consulting team. She works with a wide range of clients from competitive athletes to those dealing with complex health problems. Check out her bio and consulting options, and her blog Fuel As Rx to get your Paleo nutrition fix. Email her if you have questions or would like to learn more at: amyk.rd@gmail.com

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