Enjoying food during the holidays doesn't necessarily have to tip the scale.

By Krista Ackerbloom Montgomery, M.S., R.D.
October 18, 2006
Credit: Randy Mayor

December always brings many reasons to get together, usually around an abundance of food. And, every year, we hear how the average American gains about three to seven pounds over the holidays. However, a study by Tufts University followed 195 people during the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day and found that the average weight gain was only about one pound. Granted it was a small study, but it offers evidence that enjoying food during the holidays doesn't necessarily have to tip the scale.

Concerns of weight gain shouldn't interfere with your enjoyment of the festivities. After all, now is the time to celebrate your good fortune and to be with friends and family. If you worry too much about how many calories you eat, you may miss out on some delicious food―and the happy memories it creates.

If you want to sample something, go ahead. The key word is "sample." If you really like a particular dish, ask the host or hostess for the recipe. There's no need to overindulge if you know you can enjoy it again later. By giving yourself some leeway, you'll be more likely to laugh, sing, and maybe even bust a move―all of which will help you to burn off the calories in those yummy nibbles. Happy holidays.