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Start managing your meals to avoid extra holiday pounds

Thursday - 10/31/2013, 10:53am  ET

Just cause the holidays cause you to be in the kitchen, doesn't mean you can't squeeze in a workout. Lisa Reed has some creative tips. (Courtesy Lisa Reed)
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Lisa Reed, special to

WASHINGTON - When you work hard all year to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle, you can't afford to backtrack when the holidays come around.

Fitting in your workouts and managing your meals -- between all the holiday festivities -- will help you to stay on track and keep the extra pounds off.

And it all starts with the Halloween leftovers …

Tips for fitting in workouts during the holidays:

  1. Make a game of it: All of the collected -- or leftover -- Halloween candy can be tempting, but resisting will pay off. And there's actually a way to incorporate all that candy into a workout -- one the whole family will enjoy.

    Stuff a piñata with the candy, turn up the music and allow everyone in your group to take a whack at the piñata. When it's not your turn, do jumping jacks or bring on the dance moves until your next hit is up.

    Once the piñata has been cracked open, spread out and do lunges to pick up each piece. Make a chart matching each candy to an exercise, but don't show your guests until all the candy has been collected.

    After all the exercises are done, you can donate the candy to a local church or troop organization.

  2. Kick it up in the kitchen: At rest, muscle burns more calories than fat. That is why it's crucial to incorporate strength training into your fitness program. If you are stuck in your kitchen prepping for holiday feasts, use the time to strength train with a simple kitchen workout.

    While dishes are in the oven, you can perform chair step-ups, towel side lunge slides and countertop tricep pushups.

    Or take a break until the timer goes off and perform a quick tabata workout. Watch the video below for details on how to complete this exercise.

    Also, be mindful when making the food. Substitute some of the high-calorie ingredients with healthier options. For example, instead of a traditional apple pie, try making an apple cobbler -- this has less fat than pie.

    Use low-fat cooking methods like baking, broiling or boiling, instead of frying. When cooking your turkey, roast it on a rack to reduce the fat content. Use diverse spices for flavoring instead of relying on salt and butter. And try desserts that are made with fresh fruit, such as a fruit and yogurt parfait.

  3. Manage your meals: Just like mini-workouts, don't forget that small meals every three hours will keep your energy up and prevent overeating from skipped meals.

    Make sure you keep a handle on your portion sizes. Use a home food scale to weigh the proper portions for each food group, or use a smaller plate. Even though it may be full, you'll eat less.

    Once you get a have a handle on portion sizes, you'll be able to estimate how much is too much when you are out to eat at parties or a restaurant. A deck of cards equals 4 ounces of turkey, half of a tennis ball equals the proper portion of carbs or dessert and the end of your thumb is equal to the right amount of fats, butter or oil.

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Read more about Lisa at Follow @lisareedfitness and @WTOPLiving on Twitter.© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.