The winter season is headed our way and, along with the wind chills, comes the ever-dreaded winter weight gain. It’s all too easy to unconsciously pack on the pounds during winter.

After all, we’re likely to spend most of our time indoors taking part in sedentary activities and eating comfort foods. The best way to put a stop to winter weight gain is to combat its effects before it even begins.

Try these tips to stop winter weight gain in its tracks

1. Work out indoors. Whether you purchase yoga DVDs or an elliptical machine, get moving each and every day throughout the winter.

* Take 30 minutes out of your morning to exercise. Feel free to take the weekends off, but if that’s when you have less restraint with your eating habits, take two days off midweek and exercise weekend mornings.

* Make it a couple’s event. Pop in a salsa DVD each morning and work out with your partner. It’s fun, flirty, and the perfect way for couples to spend quality time together every day.

2. Make meals ahead of time. Sometimes, when the weather is depressing, your desire to cook will vanish. This causes you to reach for the phone and dial the pizza place or Chinese restaurant for delivery. Instead, if you have precooked meals in the fridge, you’ll naturally eat healthier and save money, too!

* On a Sunday afternoon, take the time to prepare two or three meals and freeze them. Make vegetable soup, whole-wheat spaghetti and meatballs, or your favorite casserole and tuck it away in the freezer. Before work, simply let the container defrost and pop onto the stove as soon as you get home.

* If you’re not in a cooking mood, plan several meals for the week and, at the very minimum, group your ingredients together to save a bit of time.

3. Stock healthy snacks. Snacking is inevitable, especially when you’re stuck indoors, evening after evening. You might as well prepare for your snack cravings and stock up on healthy and satisfying snacks.

* Run for the baked goods! Though they’re often laden with calories and fat, you can often find fat-free and low calorie versions at specialty bake shops. Treat yourself to apple pie, angel food, and granola.

* A serving of apple pie generally contains approximately 300 calories. However, this is just approximately 50 to 100 calories more than you would consume eating a Kit Kat bar, Reese’s peanut butter cups, or 6 Oreo cookies. That slice of pie should keep you full for much longer, but keep an eye out for unnecessary saturated and trans fats.

4. Eat Holiday foods in moderation. Yes, your family is consuming heaps of eggnog, turkey, and potato salad, but if you’re trying to ward off the winter weight gain, refrain from eating like it’s your last supper.

* Have a glass of water before your big holiday meals and load your plates with vegetables, lean meats, and a small amount of fatty foods. Wait 20 minutes after your first plate. If you’re still hungry, reach for a second plate.

* If you’re hosting a holiday dinner, take charge and prepare calorie conscious meals. Rather than baking a ham for Christmas dinner, make lemon herb turkey. Rather than using mayonnaise in your potato salad, go for an Italian potato salad with vinaigrette as the binding agent.

In reality, all it takes to combat the winter weight gain is attention to detail and some indoor activity to keep you fit. By keeping these pointers in mind, you’ll be beach-ready even before the spring season strikes!