30/12/2017 13:38 SAST | Updated 30/12/2017 13:39 SAST

5 Ways To Prevent Unnecessary Festive Season Weight Gain

For a start: when you are full, stop eating.

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Holidays are very tempting, with endless delicacies at events and catch-up lunches –– and for some, an abundant supply of liquor.

But the mindless eating and drinking the holidays encourage can leave you a few kilos heavier by the end of the festive season -- although it doesn't have to be that way.

Here are five ways to enjoy the season, while minding what you're eating:

1. Keep choosing the healthier option

Instead of creamy sides and dishes with rich sauces, opt for salads and vegetables. The calorie content in the former is normally very high. Similarly, instead of sugary drinks, opt for water or juices with a lower sugar content.

2. Don't go to a party on a hungry stomach

Arriving at a party hungry means you risk eating any and everything you can get your hands on -- and some of these may be poor food choices. Rather have a small meal at home before you go out. This will help ensure that you do not overeat.

3. When you are full, stop eating

Listen to your body –– you know when you are full. After eating, you should still feel fine –– if the fullness is uncomfortable, you've overeaten. It's also okay to stop eating for a while, while you decide whether you're still hungry or not.

4. With every glass of wine, have water

An average alcoholic drink is known to supply almost twice as many calories as some protein and carbs. Additionally, alcohol packs on empty calories, which are devoid of nutrition, and it decreases fat burn in the belly area, hence mkhaba (beer belly). It can increase your appetite too –– so water not only keeps you hydrated, but it's a good way to pace yourself and avoid overeating because of an alcohol-fuelled appetite.

5. Everything in moderation

It is the season to be jolly, so don't completely restrict yourself. But by dishing yourself up little portions, you can have a bit of everything, and remain within reason. Surrendering to all your cravings, on the other hand, might leave you heavier than you'd hoped.