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How to tip the scales in your favor

Here are some tips from dietitian Judy Fields to help get you through the holidays without packing on the pounds.

- Start the day with protein such as cottage cheese, string cheese, slices of ham or protein drinks.

- Walk for 10 minutes in the morning or during your first break in the day.

- Weigh yourself on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A little fluctuation is normal.

- Do not skip breakfast.

- For lunch, focus on salads with protein and include a slice of whole grain bread. Always ask for the dressing on the side and minimize how much dressing you use.

- Plan menus for the week based around events. For example, if a dinner party is on Wednesday, eat a light meal on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

- If you are going out to dinner, plan ahead what you are going to order. This Web site, www.healthydiningfinder.com lists many restaurant menus and includes nutrition information on various items and that will help you plan ahead.

- If you are attending a buffet, check your options before taking a plate -- that will help you avoid taking something, then finding something else you want to sample. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables. Do not go back for seconds.

- If you are attending a cocktail party, limit alcohol intake and take one small plate of snacks. Then position yourself at a distance from the food so you will be less likely to go back for more.

- Do not eat after 8 p.m.

- Do not go to a party hungry. Before you leave home eat a light protein snack such as cottage cheese, string cheese or a slice of turkey or ham.

- Limit desserts or extras to two servings per day or 400 calories. For example, 2 ounces of chocolate, four small or two large cookies, 1/8-slice of pie or two small scoops of ice cream.

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