Diet hacksIf you want to enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds, these diet hacks will help you pull it off. Even for someone with incredible willpower, it’s difficult to stay on track at parties and holiday meals like Thanksgiving. With a little bit of strategy and effort, you can avoid joining the masses who gain weight every holiday season.

While it this is the time of year to indulge and have fun, it’s just as important to keep up your healthy habits. Instead of abandoning your usual routine, give it a boost with some of the following tips.

1. Don’t arrive with an empty stomach.

One of the best ways to pre-game is with a healthy snack. If you hit Thanksgiving dinner on an empty stomach, you’ll be sure to overeat and possibly drink too much. Instead, have a high-protein snack like one of our protein bars to regulate your blood sugar levels and calm that growling stomach.

2. Eat healthy before the big meal.

Many people plan to “save up” calories by skipping breakfast or lunch. Bad move—studies show that people eat significantly more calories at the big meal when they skip meals beforehand. Eat small, protein-rich meals before you hit Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Load your plate with protein and fiber.

Luckily, the main dish at Thanksgiving dinner is an excellent source of lean protein, which fills you up and helps build lean muscle. Turkey is also rich in mood-boosting tryptophan, iron, zinc, potassium and vitamin B-6. Opt for slices of skinless white meat only—dark meat contains more calories and saturated fat. Try to add some good sources of fiber to your plate to help fill you up.

4. Moderate the booze.

Alcohol adds empty calories to your day and makes you less inhibited about what you eat. You get hungrier when you drink and will have less willpower around fattening food—you may even crave it. Keep the alcoholic beverages to a minimum and hydrate with a glass of water between each one. Opt for drinks without sugar-laden mixers and juices, such as white wine spritzers or vodka sodas.

5. Slow your role.

It takes your stomach 20 minutes to signal your brain that it’s full. Don’t obsess about it, but take note of the time you start eating. Chew slowly so your brain has more time to register the signal. Put your fork down in between bites and engage in conversation so that you forget about your stomach.

6. Use smaller plates.

This old school trick actually tricks your brain to make you feel fuller with less food. Grab a salad or appetizer plate and try to leave a little bit of white space on it.

7. Don’t waste calories.

Instead of sampling everything in your way, only indulge in your favorites. Why waste calories on something just because it’s there?

8. Move it.

Don’t skip your workout on Thanksgiving Day. The last thing you should do on a day where you may eat more than usual is skip exercise. Wake up early and get a good workout in first thing so that you don’t get sidetracked. If you can, go for a walk after the big meal to burn a few extra calories and promote healthy digestion.

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