Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:00PM - 182 Views

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We are entering the food-a-palooza time of year, otherwise known as the holiday season. For the next eight weeks, we'll be faced with more cookies, dips and cheese trays than we see during most of the rest of the year combined.

Rella Rotondo, a registered dietitian with Summa Akron City Hospital, offers a few tips on how to survive during the holidays:

Don't skip breakfast: When you don't eat breakfast, you're going to be hungry by mid-morning and that will make you easy prey at 10 a.m. for that tray of cookies someone brought into the office.

In general, breakfast-eaters weigh less than those who skip the first meal of the day and find they have better mental performance, too.

Maintain a regular eating schedule: Try to eat every five hours. If you eat a good breakfast, by lunchtime you should be hungry and you need to eat again. Waiting longer than five or six hours between meals leads to bad eating.

Make better food choices: Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and more fish. Reduce the amount of processed foods you eat to reduce your sodium intake, and increase the amount of fiber in your diet. When you're at a holiday party looking over the buffet table, remember to go easy on the cheese. Try to fill your plate with mostly vegetables, and skip the dip. Plain boiled shrimp is a good option because it's low in fat and calories, although it does contain cholesterol.

Watch out for cocktails: Alcoholic drinks can pack a wallop of calories. Popular holiday drinks such as coffee-flavored liqueur with cream can contain as many calories as a slice of cheesecake. While we may not eat two pieces of cheesecake, we often don't hesitate to have two high-calorie cocktails. Keep alcohol consumption to one or two drinks and try to lighten them up. Use diet sodas, water or tomato juice as a mixer instead of regular pop or high-sugar juice drinks like cranberry. Opt for a glass of wine or a wine spritzer, which is half wine and half sparkling water, to save calories, Rotondo said.

— MCT Information Services

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