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Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

By Kristen Scruggs

Repeat after me: It does not have to be the “inevitable five pound holiday weight gain” this year! By making a few small changes to recipes, adding exercise and trying out some tips and tricks for saving calories, you’ll be on the right track this year to make it through the big Thanksgiving and Christmas meals!

Tips on saving calories

turkey Don’t save all your calories for the holiday lunch/dinner. You’ll be starving by the time everything is ready and make the wrong choices. Eat breakfast and have a few healthy snacks before the meal and don’t forget to drink lots of water.

Don’t go crazy with the cocktails. The calories add up and who wants to drink all their calories and make foolish choices later with the “big meal?”

Survey all the options before loading your plate. Fill your plate with lean protein (turkey breast) and vegetables (steer clear of those loaded with butter, cream sauces and oil) and then take small servings of your favorite items that aren’t normally available. It IS a special occasion, so you can splurge a little without going overboard.

Send leftovers home with friends and family, especially the heavier items. Freeze whatever you have left so you don’t try to eat everything over the next few days before it goes bad. Stock up on Tupperware and Ziploc bags so it will be easier to send goodies home with your guests.

Reducing calories in holiday dishes

pumpkin pie(1) ~Use less sugar or substitute with a no-calorie sweetener, such as Stevia.
~Use less fat. Butter and oil can be replaced with applesauce, avocado, Greek yogurt or canned pumpkin. Check online for a conversion chart.
~Use whole wheat flour by substituting half the amount of white flour. This adds fiber to help slow digestion and increase fullness.
~Use light or reduced fat products such as reduced fat cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, cool whip, butter or half and half.
~Use a liquid egg substitute versus whole eggs.
~Use cooking spray and non-stick pans versus adding butter or oil.

running family(1) Family exercise ideas    
~Take a morning or afternoon walk or bike ride together and aim for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring the dog along, too!
~Play tag, jump rope, hula hoop, or toss a ball or Frisbee around.
~Find a holiday themed fun run with post-race activities for the kids. Some suggestions for local holiday races/5K’s are below.


Local Races
santa runners(1) ~Nov. 23: Light Up UCF Knight Run 5K (evening run with a free ice-skating ticket)
~Nov. 28: Track Shack Turkey Trot at Lake Eola
~Nov. 28: Avalon Park Turkey Trot
~Dec. 14: Track Shack’s Reindeer Run at SeaWorld
~Dec. 14: Avalon Park Jingle Bell Run
~Dec. 14: Santa’s Foot Pursuit in Winter Garden
~Dec. 14: Candy Cane 5K in Winter Springs

Make exercise a priority! You’ll be consuming extra calories, so burn extra calories, too!


bio pic Kristen E. Scruggs is the Chapter Leader for the East Orlando Chapter of Moms RUN This Town, a free running club for Moms with nearly 300 members. She just completed her first full marathon (26.2 miles) Dec. 1, the Space Coast Marathon! Kristen is married with a one-year-old daughter and wants 2-3 more children in the near future! You can see what her busy group of running mommas is up to at


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