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Worried about gaining weight during the holidays? Check out these tips for eating lean.



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Oh, the holidays. The perfect time of year to zone out while your aunt blabs on about the latest episodes of "This is Us." 

A great time to pretend you know the cousin-you-see-once-a-year's name. But for some, the holidays also could mean lots of food. Here are some tips posted on IU Newsroom for eating well during the holidays from IU dietitian Steven Lalevich. 

Think about the times you are eating

Eat breakfast and avoid eating late at night, Lalevich advises. Also consider shortening the window during the day you eat, somewhere between 10-12 hours, to prevent weight gain. 

"For example, you might start the day with some eggs and fruit for breakfast at 7 a.m. and then finish eating your holiday dinner by 7 p.m. to stay within a 12-hour window," Lalevich said. 

Avoid inflammatory foods 

Vegetables, fruits and nuts all help reduce inflammation that makes people put on weight. Added sugars and refined grains, however, do not. 

"Chronic, low-level inflammation is associated with weight gain and obesity, and some foods help reduce inflammation, while others cause inflammation," Lalevich said.

For holiday meals, fill your plate with color for vegetables, Lalevich said, and when it comes to dessert, choose fruit.

Put down the iPhone

All the beeps and buzzes of phone notifications only contributes to stress, Lalevich said. Not only does it add to a stress load, but it can also cause bad sleep and inflammation. 

"The blue light emitted by your smartphone screen decreases production of the hormone melatonin," Lalevich said. "In addition to helping us sleep, melatonin plays important roles in reducing inflammation and regulating your metabolism."

He recommends turing your phone off an hour before you go to bed. 

Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can lower your metabolism, which could lead to hunger and cravings. Sufficient sleep could help you make wiser decisions at the dessert table, Lalevich said. 

Lalevich recommends a consistent schedule of seven to nine hours per night. 

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