diet hacksIt’s the final stretch—will you end up rocking a Santa belly when the New Year rolls around? Or will you use our diet hacks to keep those potential binges in check? The holidays are filled with all kinds of temptation, and while you should enjoy yourself, you don’t need to go big at every buffet that comes your way. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa, the last thing you want to do is to finish the holidays with is a few extra pounds.

Try some of these diet hacks and tips to keep your waistline in check this holiday season.

1. Go from low to high.

An excellent trick for filling up faster and consuming less calories overall is by going low calorie/fat/carb to high. This means starting out with a broth-based soup or fiber-rich salad to provide essential nutrients. Next pack your plate with some lean protein to fill you up before moving on to one of your more decadent favorites. By the time you reach dessert, you’ll be satisfied with just a few bites and won’t even think about seconds.

2. Alternate the bubbly with non-alcoholic drinks.

It can be difficult to avoid alcohol during holiday festivities, but if you alternate with no-calorie drinks, it will help you avoid packing on the pounds. Every other drink, switch to sparkling water or water with lemon or lime. Citrus is rich in vitamin A, which helps the body process alcohol more efficiently. Hydrating will also help you fill up faster and avoid a hangover the next day.

3. Rock a bodycon outfit.

Bust out the skinny jeans or that bodycon dress in lieu of elastic waistbands, baggy sweats and anything with a “relaxed” fit. More fitted clothing makes you feel sleeker and you’ll be less apt to indulge to the extreme.

4. Load up on veggies and lean protein during the day.

Eat a protein- and fiber-rich breakfast, lunch and snack during the day so that you’re not ravenous when you arrive at an event. Fiber and lean protein keeps you full and promotes healthy digestion.

5. Use smaller plates.

Research shows that when food is served on smaller plates, your stomach feels fuller faster. Opt for salad and appetizer plates instead of entrée plates and see what happens.

6. Make smart holiday swaps.

Whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish, make some swaps so that you can count on some healthy options. For example, a popular alternative to mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower. Plain baked sweet potatoes are just as good as a casserole laden with sugary, fattening toppings. Egg nog can be made with unsweetened coconut milk instead of heavy cream.

7. Hack healthy sugar alternatives.

Modify traditional sweet recipes by swapping the sugar for Manuka honey or cinnamon. Another great trick is to cut the sugar content in half and use cinnamon for the other portion. Cinnamon adds to the sweetness while boosting metabolism.

8. Try the three-bite rule.

An excellent way to enjoying desserts guilt-free is the three-bite rule. It’s simple, enjoy three bites and call it a day. This lets you have that delicious initial first bite, the one in the middle and the uber tasty finale. You’ll still get the entire dessert experience without the plate full of calories.

9. Detox the next day with bone broth.

We’re not proponents of cleanses or anything of the sort, but if you add cups of bone broth to your meal plan the following day, this will help you fill up and flush your system.

10. Wake up and exercise.

Get up the next day and get moving. Increase your intensity and duration to help compensate for some of the damage you incurred the night before. Try to squeeze in extra activity throughout the day as well, such as a walk after dinner or a bike ride to your errands.

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