It's become a national tradition: With the winter holidays comes an increase in weight. Although a variety of research has shown that most of us gain only a couple pounds each season, it starts to add up. Suppose you gain a pound a year for 10 years. Is that really an annual "gift" that you want to give yourself? Probably not.
The solution: Learn about diet-friendly winter foods and beverages that can keep your tummy satisfied -- and your taste buds happy:
Hot soup: Begin your lunch and dinner with a bowl of hot low-sodium, low-calorie soup, such as vegetable soup. You'll ward off the chill of winter and feel full on fewer calories. Just be sure to read the label before you buy: Some of those soups labeled "healthy" actually contain more sodium than the regular versions.
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Look for one that contains about 60 calories or fewer and 450 milligrams of sodium or fewer. Can't find one? Make your own by buying low-sodium chicken broth, chopping up fresh veggies such as broccoli, zucchini, celery and mushrooms, and heating until the vegetables are soft.
Baked apples: Back away from that double-crusted apple pie for dessert and make your own healthy substitute! To make them, buy several large baking apples, such as Rome Beauty. Remove the core and set in a baking dish. Pour a small amount of sugar-free apple juice over them and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pierce with a fork, then bake at 375 degrees until soft. Fabulous served warm and topped with a spoonful of fat-free, sugar-free vanilla yogurt.
Steamed vegetables topped with melted cheese: You're longing for an enormous stuffed baked potato, and we all know what it's stuffed with: butter, full-fat cheese and sour cream. The result: You're stuffed -- and your waistline expands.