Alison Sweeney’s Top Tips to Be Healthy (and Not Pack on the Lbs.) This Thanksgiving and Holiday Season

11/20/2015 at 01:50 PM ET

Alison Sweeney
Vivien Killilea/Getty

Alison Sweeney is an author, actress, fitness advocate and former host of The Biggest Loser, so she knows what it takes to get and stay in shape – even during the usually overindulgent holiday season.

Sweeney, 39, shared her top tips for staying healthy during Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season while speaking to PEOPLE on behalf of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and their Little Changes for the Holidays sweepstakes, which invites people to build a Pinterest board with their favorite recipes to enter to win $500 to create their own holiday meal.

1. Don’t eat unhealthy foods just because they are readily available.
The most important rule I stick to is that the calories have to be worth it. I don’t mind indulging, but I don’t want it to be thoughtless. You don’t want to cram food in your mouth just because you’re at this certain party. If it’s not exactly the delicious thing I wanted it to be, then it’s easy for me to just say, ‘No thank you.’

2. Eat a healthy meal before going to a holiday gathering.
I really try not to starve myself in between indulgences. A lot of people’s technique is to not eat, and then go to the party to save calories. That’s really a reverse logic – you end up eating more calories of the unhealthy stuff because you’re starving. If you eat a full healthy meal and make sure it has all the nutrients and all the good, healthy stuff that you need, you may be tempted to try the not-so-healthy dip, but you’re not going to eat as much, because you’re already full.

3. Make healthy swaps for traditional holiday recipes.
I like a cauliflower mash with celery root or apples, and I find that to be more delicious and more interesting than mashed potatoes. There’s also value and nutrition to that dish as opposed to plain starch with butter in it. I think there’s also a great opportunity to offer healthy appetizers and side dishes. Rather than serving a cheese spread, you could have fresh fruits, such as blueberries, available.

4. If you’re the one preparing the meal, make sure to have healthy snacks on hand.
One of the tricky things about Thanksgiving is that people end up consuming tons of calories before they even sit down to dinner. I make sure that I have a bowl of blueberries and some almonds out for myself, because I’m smelling these delicious things all day long, so that’s what I snack on instead of the stuffing.

5. Find alternative ways to stay active if you can’t make it to the gym.
It’s important not to stress yourself out if you’re too busy and don’t have a chance to go to the gym. There are other things you can do to be fit. Meet up with a friend and go for a walk rather than a drink.

6. Practice portion control, especially during the holidays when everything is so tempting and delicious.
Really keep the portions small. Enjoy your time with your family, and if you’re still hungry 20 minutes later, there’s always going to be seconds. Don’t pile up your plate the first time. Make yourself get up and walk back and forth if you really want seconds.

7. Serve your meals on smaller plates.
Those big charger plates make you feel like you need to fill them up. I serve dinner on 7″ plates. I’m always happy to have more, but your belly takes a long time to communicate with your mind that it’s full, so it’s always good to give yourself time to sit and digest and enjoy it, and then see if you need more.

Gabrielle Olya, @GabyOlya

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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KR on

Eating unhealthy or too much on Thanksgiving or Christmas is not the reason why Americans are fat. It would make more sense and be a lot more effective to eat healthy and sensible the rest of the year and let yourself indulge on holidays. But instead so many overeat year round and still indulge on holidays…

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