What influences the foods you throw into your grocery cart or what your shopping list looks like? Does it depend on how hungry you are at the time? Who you are shopping with? It is likely a combination of factors. According to newly released research, it also depends on the season.

A study from RAND Corporation and Discovery on the supermarket purchases of 400,000 South African households from 2009 to 2013 showed that the purchase of unhealthy foods is 40 percent higher in December than in January. This holiday peak is also linked to short-term weight gain. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not return to their pre-holiday weights.

Realizing the weight gain during the holidays, workplace health programs with healthy food options should incentivize such purchases and provide needed support during the holidays. With the holidays in full swing and various celebrations taking place throughout December, here are a few suggestions to avoid that December weight gain.

Stick to a plan at the grocery store. Avoid spontaneous purchases of unhealthy holiday foods that are not on your shopping list and do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Having a plan will help you avoid putting unneeded calories in your cart.

Bring a healthy dish to parties. Volunteer to bring a healthy option to festive gatherings, such as a vegetable platter or salad.

Do not drink your calories. If you are drinking alcohol, avoid high calorie mixers and alternate with water or sugar-free beverages.

Make it about the people, not the food. Not all gatherings need to focus on food, drinks, and desserts. If you are catching up with friends and family over the holidays, come up with healthy non-food focused activities. Meet up for a long walk, volunteer as a group, get together for ice skating or gather for coffee instead of a decadent dinner.

Moderation is key. Eat extra healthy in the days before and after a party to make up for the extra calories.

Step up the exercise. Get in extra workouts to burn the excess calories you may have consumed.

What are you doing to ensure you do not gain weight in December? We would love to hear your suggestions on Twitter @VitalityUSA, and we wish you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.



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