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It’s been said that the average adult gains over five pounds over the holiday season, but more recent studies say holiday weight gain is as little as one pound. Either way, we all tend to indulge a bit more than usual, so I’ve come up with some tips to help you stay on track til the new year (when everyone hits the gym!).

1) Sugary indulgences and too much booze make a body acidic, and an acidic body is more prone to inflammation, pain, and degenerative conditions. To restore alkalinity, drink an 8 ounce glass of hot water with the juice from a 1/2 a lemon first thing in the morning (especially if you’re overindulged the night before. In that case, add some grated ginger root for additional detox). You can also add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to help rev up your metabolism and strengthen immunity. This is especially good if you stayed out too late and are hungover, as this drink is cleansing for the liver. Don’t hit the coffee too hard–it’s very acidic. Stick to green tea or coconut water (both good for hangovers!)

2) Enjoy a protein rich breakfast within an hour of waking. This means exclude cereals, oatmeal, pastries, and bread products, all of which break down into sugar and are low in protein, leading to a crash and sugar cravings later. Try an egg-veggie scramble or chicken apple sausage with spinach and avocado (both ready in 10 minutes).

3) Chew your food slowly and eat mindfully! It’s easy to pop handfuls of treats during the day when the candy dish overfloweth, but ask yourself if you really want that third truffle, and slowly enjoy the treats you do indulge in. Don’t mindlessly walk past the candy dish and pop treats–they really add up!
Concentrate on chewing each bite of food 30 times. Mindful eating is one of the most powerful ways to enjoy and absorb nutrients from food.

4) When you are under the urge to overeat or indulge in unhealthy snacking, make yourself a cup of green or herbal tea or drink a glass of water. We often mistaken thirst for hunger. Take a walk or remove yourself from the situation. This is called “urge surfing.” Give yourself 10 minutes into your new activity, and the craving will likely be gone.

5) Get plenty of probiotic foods. My fave is raw kraut. Or take a probiotic supplement to keep your internal terrain balanced and healthy. Probiotics feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract, enhance digestion, combat bad yeast that contribute to sugar cravings, and boost immunity.

6) While alcoholic beverages add to the celebratory nature of the holidays, they pack a lot of calories without nutrients, cause cellular damage, and lead to overeating. Cut down on alcohol consumption by drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic drink you imbibe. Good choices are champagne, red wine, or vodka/club soda. Try not to exceed two drinks.

7) Make healthier versions of your favorite dishes! See my post all about it.

Prevent party pig-out: DON’T ARRIVE AT PARTY HUNGRY
Avoid refined foods like gluten & sugar which trigger cravings before events. Include fiber, protein, and good fats like butter, coconut oil, or olive oil in every meal to help you feel full. It’s the refined foods like “fat free” pretzels that make you hungry. Survey the entire food spread first, then choose a few things that you really want–avoid the breaded, fried, or gluten-based foods and stick to the protein-based apps like shrimp, eggs, salmon, or meatballs.

Click here for tips to avoid and kick sugar cravings.

Quick party tips:
• Don’t hover around buffet tables at parties. Avoid auto-grazing by staying as far from the buffet as possible.
• Watch your portion sizes. Use a smaller plate, and do not go back for seconds. Enjoy the food and be satisfied with one plate.
• Avoid high-calorie drinks such as eggnog. Be aware that eating sugar makes you want more.
• Reach for the healthy, non-starchy carbohydrates such as veggies. They are a better choice than crackers and cheese, chicken wings, roasted nuts, and cookies.

Have fun out there!