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Enjoy the taste of the holidays without the weight gain

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
Dec. 4, 2017 

Fast Facts:

  • Over the holidays, Americans will gain one to two pounds, on average
  • Stay mindful of what you’re eating; stay physically active to avoid gaining extra weight
  • Use smaller plates for portion control 

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LITTLE ROCK— Christmas conjures up images of beautifully decorated trees, presents, houses covered in lights, sugar plums, cookies, candies and meals with friends and family. Americans typically gain one to two pounds over the holidays. 

Chocolate Pie

Avoid packing on extra holiday pounds by following these tips from University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Professor of Nutrition Rosemary Rodibaugh. 

  • Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals will likely lead to overindulging the next time you eat. Instead, eat small portions of foods low in calories and high in fiber and moisture such as fruits, vegetables, salads or broth-based vegetable soups. These foods will help you feel full so you won’t snack on less healthy foods while waiting for a meal. 
  • Rate your hunger. Think about your hunger on a scale of zero to ten where zero is really hungry and ten is uncomfortably full. Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry - about five on the hunger scale. Don’t keep eating until you feel full – about a seven or eight on the scale - because by then, you have over-eaten. 
  • Use smaller plates. Instead of filling a dinner plate, try using a salad plate. Take small portions of foods you generally only have during the holidays and skip the foods that available all year round.  Don’t go back for seconds. 
  • Be mindful of the calories you drink. Beverages with alcohol, fruit juices and cream are popular at holiday gatherings and can contribute a lot of calories. If you choose such a beverage, ask for a small portion then switch to water, sparkling water or other calorie-free drinks such as diet soda.  
  • Don’t leave holiday treats sitting around in plain sight. You are a lot more likely to eat foods that are plainly visible. Cookies and candy left out where you see them every time you walk by are hard to resist and those calories soon add up.   
  • Stay active. Make sure you are physically active during the holidays to help burn any extra calories you consume. Continue your normal work-out regimen as much as possible, walk with family, friends or your dog, and get up and move around during commercials and half-time of the football games you watch. 

For more information on healthy eating and lifestyles visit or contact your county Extension office.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.    

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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