Do you dread stepping on the scale after the holidays?

You're not alone: According to one study, pounds put on between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day account for 51 percent of a person's annual weight gain, suggesting that the six-week holiday season may be a heavy contributor to the national increase in obesity (Nutrition Reviews, 2000, vol. 58, no. 12). Try these tips for avoiding extra calories at holiday parties:

  • Instead of nibbling a single chocolate-chip cookie or assorted chocolate chunks (1 ounce, 130 calories), savor strawberries (1 cup, 45 calories) or apple slices (1 cup, 65 calories)
  • Instead of eating a fistful of chips (1 ounce, 150 calories), enjoy the same amount of pretzels (110 calories) or 10 baby carrots (40 calories)
  • Instead of downing a strawberry daiquiri (7 ounces, 200 calories), refresh yourself with a glass of rosé (4 ounces, 88 calories), sparkling cider (6 ounces, 100 calories) or ice water with lemon (0 calories)
  • Instead of scooping up onion dip (1 ounce, 50 calories), indulge in bean dip (1 ounce, 30 calories) or salsa (1 ounce, 8 calories)
  • Instead of gobbling honey-roasted peanuts (1 ounce, 170 calories), munch on baby dill pickles (1 ounce, 4 calories)

Source: The NutriBase Nutrition Facts Desk Referenceby Art Ulene, MD (Avery Publishing Group, 1995).