Paula Wolfson, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - This is the heaviest season of the year.
Halloween through New Year's tends to be the time when many put on a few extra pounds.
"People typically gain 4 pounds on average from Halloween through the first of the year," says registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Marie Spano.
The reason is simple: There's so much food.
"We have Halloween candy. We have leftover pumpkin pie. And, then all the holiday parties in December," says Spano.
"There is just an over abundance of food, and some people just throw in the towel once they eat that first piece of candy."
But there are ways to keep seasonal weight gain in check. Spano says she always encourages her clients to take "a moderate approach."
Everyone should make an effort to cook healthy meals at home, Spano says, incorporating as much fall produce as possible, such as squash.
The real challenge comes when it's time to eat out. Spano suggests having a nutritious snack before going to a party, and even downing a glass or two of water.
She also recommends using the smallest available plate at a buffet.
"Put what you want on it in small quantities and move away from the food and get talking."
For those planning to do some holiday imbibing, Spano offers this advice: Have a cocktail, but also have a glass of water and alternate the two. Remember, alcoholic drinks are far from calorie free, so get one, and then get away from the bar.
Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
Lil Wayne: I wasn't intentionally stepping on the U.S. flag. (Video)
James Franco wants fans to spot him half a million for a film trilogy.
Don't look for the movie about Jodi Arias to be about her trial. (Video)
Not to lecture, but here's why you don't want to skimp on sleep.