TIME Diet/Nutrition

11 Ways to Stay Slim Through the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving plate
Getty Images

The secret to indulging without wrecking your waist: this cheat sheet

You’ve done battle with party buffets and holiday cookies before, and even though you know what to do (fill up from the veggie platter, chew slowly, yada yada), somehow the buffet always wins. Then it’s New Year’s—and you’ve packed on an extra few pounds. But that’s not going to be you in 2015. We ditched the usual tips and tapped everyone from celebrity trainers to food pros who are constantly surrounded by temptation for their best strategies to avoid gain—without sacrificing fun.

Focus on just one healthy habit

“I try not to give myself too many rules when at a party. Instead, I zero in on a single healthy practice,” says trainer Gunnar Peterson, whose clients include Khloe Kardashian and Sofia Vergara. “It can be anything from not drinking alcohol to skipping the passed appetizers or desserts. If you give yourself one thing, you’ll likely stick to it.”

Create a workout willpower playlist

Getting psyched to exercise when there’s so much fun to be had isn’t easy. So make a new playlist with this fresh spin: “Limit the total time of all the songs to the number of minutes you want to exercise,” says SoulCycle instructor Charlee Atkins. “Then make a promise to yourself that all you have to do is listen to the songs to get through your workout.”

HEALTH.COM: 50 Holiday Foods You Shouldn’t Eat

Handle a buffet like skinny people do

Slim types are more likely than their pudgy peers to scout out a buffet before grabbing a plate, finds research by Brian Wansink, PhD, published in his new book Slim by Design. They also choose a small plate, sit 16 feet farther from the buffet and are more apt to face away from the food. So grab the bread plate instead of the dinner-size one, and once you’ve filled it, sit down somewhere a good distance from the spread.

Make water work a lot harder for you

Carry your clutch or your smartphone in one hand and a glass of water in the other, advises celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of The Sugar Impact Diet: “With both your hands full, you’ll be much less likely to grab whatever sugary concoction or fattening appetizer is being passed around.” Also, make seltzer with a twist of lemon or lime your go-to drink between cocktails. It slows down consumption of alcohol and helps fill you up so you don’t eat as much later, explains Brett Hoebel, who has been a trainer on The Biggest Loser.

HEALTH.COM: 20 Filling Foods That Help You Lose Weight

Follow the three-bite rule

This one is another binge buster: “You grabbed a tart? Great. You get three bites,” Atkins says. “Use the first bite as your taste test. Is it worth another bite? If you make it to the second bite, mentally note what flavors you taste. When bite three rolls around, really savor your treat, and keep savoring it if you choose to finish it.” Truly enjoying what you eat instead of scarfing it down helps you feel more satisfied—and less likely to reach for tart number two.

Nibble like this while cooking

Sampling the cheeses as you cut and licking the frosting bowl are classic fat traps. Try this: Right before New York City food stylist Lori Powell gets busy in the kitchen, she’ll cut an apple into slices. “I snack on them as I cook. Apples have fiber and help me stay full, so I tend to nibble less.” She also tastes stuff with baby or demitasse spoons to keep servings small. Need to sample already-finished food? Take a bit, then step away from the batch. “In our job, portion control is important,” Katherine Kallinis Berman says. It’s no joke: She’s co-founder of Georgetown Cupcake and co-star of the hit series DC Cupcakes on TLC. “When trying multiple flavors,” she says, “we’ll split the cupcakes into halves or quarters so we can share.”

HEALTH.COM: 15-Minute Workout to Get Total-Body Toned

Torch calories while shopping!

Entering your credit card numbers on websites repeatedly won’t do much for calorie burn, but this will (and may help prevent overspending): “After each purchase, bang out 10 squats and 10 burpees,” suggests Adam Rosante, a trainer and founder of The People’s Bootcamp. “If you’re dress-shopping at the mall, knock out 12 triceps dips in the fitting room. You don’t need a lot of time to get a great workout.”

Have a morning-after pig-out plan

We all have moments of weakness. If you blow it, reset your body and mind ASAP so you don’t continue blowing it for weeks to come. Harley Pasternak, the star trainer behind Megan Fox and Rihanna and author of The Body Reset Diet, explains: “If I’ve had a big celebratory meal, I’ll commit to walking 10,000 steps the next day and eating protein and fiber five times a day.” The combo should contain that gnawing in your belly.

HEALTH.COM: 14 Surprising Reasons You’re Dehydrated

Sip this, skip that

A festive cocktail is an essential party favor. “Just avoid holiday drinks made with eggs, butter or heavy cream, which are like two desserts with a side of alcohol,” says Cynthia Sass, RD. “Instead, reach for simple drinks with fewer ingredients, and consciously take your time sipping rather than gulping.”

Sip: Champagne (80 calories per glass)
Mulled wine (160 calories per glass)

Skip: Cosmopolitan with candy cane (273 calories per glass)
Hot buttered rum (240 cals/11g fat per mug)

Work off dessert!

The treat:
3 milk chocolate truffles: 220 calories
Burn it off!
45-minute cardio/sculpt workout video: 214 calories

The treat:
3 Christmas cookies: 360 calories
Burn it off!
45-minute spin class: 455 calories

The treat:
3 squares of peppermint bark: 200 calories
Burn it off!
35-minute brisk walk: 208 calories

The treat:
1 slice of coffee cake: 550 calories
Burn it off!
90 minutes of skiing: 568 calories

The treat:
1 slice of pecan pie: 503 calories
Burn it off!
1 hour of ice-skating: 500 calories

HEALTH.COM: How to Lighten Up Your Favorite Holiday Foods

Little bites add up

1 tablespoon of chocolate-chip cookie dough: 90 calories

1 small handful of mixed nuts: 100 calories

2 chocolate-dipped strawberries: 74 calories

2 Swiss cheese and spinach mini quiches: 116 calories

2 1-inch macarons: 70 calories

2 goat cheese and hot pepper jelly bites: 79 calories

2 peppermint malted milk balls: 68 calories

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME ebola

Ebola Isolation Is ‘Pretty Much Vacation’ for U.S. Service Members Back From West Africa

Langley Transit Center in a pre-existing expeditionary training center, for military personnel returning from Ebola missions in West Africa, at Langley Air Force Base Va. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Langley Transit Center in a pre-existing expeditionary training center, for military personnel returning from Ebola missions in West Africa, at Langley Air Force Base Va. on Nov. 4, 2014. Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland—AP

"It's Wi-Fi everywhere, flat screens everywhere, big gym to either lift or run"

Ebola quarantine for health care workers has been likened to prison, but isolation for military personnel appears to be a much more relaxed experience.

American service members returning from missions in West Africa are required by the Department of Defense to undergo precautionary, 21-day quarantines in one of five designated U.S. bases, with at least one center providing everything from cafeterias to entertainment centers, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

At Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, there are 21 small buildings housing about 90 service members, the first batch to return from the roughly 1,800 troops deployed to the region. There, service members described having access to video games and a library, in addition to being able to select what they want to eat for each meal.

“All I can say about this camp, Langley, it’s pretty much vacation. It’s Wi-Fi everywhere, flat screens everywhere, big gym to either lift or run. There’s an asphalt road kind of running around the perimeter that you can work out on,” said Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Knifley. “This isn’t bad at all.”

Returning service members undergo the twice daily temperature measurements, and there have been no reported infections yet. Despite the perks, the service members believe it’s also their experiences in handling tough circumstances that help them stay positive.

“Most of us have been in far worse conditions than this, and it’s only 21 days,” said Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Chaperon, who is among those isolated on the base. “You can stand on your head for three weeks if you’ve got to.”

[AP]

TIME ebola

Here’s How the Ebola Vaccine Trial Is Doing

158930045
Kallista Images—Getty Images/Kallista Images

University of Maryland scientists are figuring out what doses of the Ebola vaccine are effective and still safe

Scientists are scurrying to get their Ebola vaccines through the necessary safety trials before they can be used widely. That includes the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which recently kicked off the latest step in their research: figuring out the appropriate dosing for the vaccine that’s both effective and safe.

University of Maryland is one of a handful of institutions involved in the testing of an experimental but promising vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The hope is that the vaccine will pass through early trials needed by end of December so that the World Health Organization (WHO) and a panel of outside experts can decide whether to move on to a large efficacy trial, which would mean vaccinating a lot of people in West Africa to see how well it works.

The vaccine has already made it through safety trials conducted by the NIH, as well as trials at the University of Oxford and at Emory University. In the current trial, researchers at Maryland vaccinated 10 volunteers on Nov. 10th and 10 volunteers on Nov. 17th. The university has also vaccinated 80 people in Mali. The volunteers’ blood will be monitored for a year, but researchers are most interested in when the participants hit the 28-days post-vaccination mark. That’s when the body should be at its peak antibody response.

“In an ideal world, if we were vaccinating people and there wasn’t an epidemic we would give them two vaccines for full coverage, but since this is an outbreak we want one dose that can protect people,” says principle investigator Dr. Kirsten Lyke. She says they hope that the higher-dose vaccine will be more durable so the effect will last longer. It might not be the best vaccine for long-term protection, but Lyke says a durable single dose will be the best to “jump in” to the outbreak.

Once the university has its data, it will plug its findings into a database that holds information from all the organizations participating in the vaccine trials. Then, the researchers can compare the participants’ overall immune response to those of monkeys.

“The assumption is that if humans make the same quality and amount of immune response as the monkeys, it’s likely that the vaccine [would provide] protection among humans as well,” says Dr. James Campbell, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development also working on the vaccine. An efficacy trial would be needed to conclude that for sure.

People who are given the vaccine stand no chance of actually getting Ebola from the drug. The vaccine uses an adenovirus (in this case, a type of virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees) with a gene removed so the virus can no longer multiply. In that gene’s place, scientists put in a single gene from Ebola that expresses a protein that sits on the surface of the virus. It looks like what the immune system would see if a person was actually infected by Ebola, but it doesn’t cause any symptoms. The goal is to trick the immune system into responding, thereby creating antibodies that will protect a person from the actual disease.

Most of the volunteers for the trial have come from the University of Maryland campus, like Andrea Buchwald, a graduate student at the university studying epidemiology. “It seemed like a neat way to contribute to the science and public health effort,” she says.

It’s still early, but Lyke says so far there have been no serious safety concerns. There have been some side effects—Buchwald says she had a fever that “felt really strange, not like a natural fever,” she says, but most side effects have gone away quickly.

As the institution gathers data, it hopes it will meet its end of December deadline to bring the vaccine to the WHO for consideration. The United Nations has already announced that it will not meet it’s Dec. 1 deadline containing the outbreak. A vaccine may ultimately be the one solution to end the outbreak.

TIME Research

14 Holiday Health Hazards to Avoid

Man deep frying turkey in pot
Getty Images

Check out these top holiday health risks and what you can do to avoid them

The holiday season is supposed to be a time for relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. Sorry to be a Grinch, but the most wonderful time of the year can also prove hazardous to your health and safety. The seemingly endless string of parties, the introduction of new foods and cooking techniques to your home, and even shopping for gifts can all put your wellbeing at risk. To ensure you make it to January 1 unscathed, follow this guide to the biggest holiday health hazards and how to avoid them.

Holiday weight gain

Christmas cookies, eggnog, late-night leftover ham sandwiches: All that holiday joy adds up to at least a pound a year, but studies suggest that you never really take it off. Keep eating everything you want over the holidays and you’ll end up looking like Santa when swimsuit season rolls around. Try these tips to avoid holiday weight gain.

Choking

You may wish your mother-in-law would choke on her snarky comments, but choking is a serious health hazard. Nearly 3,000 people in the United States die each year from choking, according to the National Safety Council, and since you’re eating more during the holidays anyway, better chew your chestnut pudding and pumpkin pie well. To avoid choking, take small bites, chew slowly and carefully, and avoid talking or being distracted while eating. Be wary of high risk foods including hotdogs, grapes, candy with nuts, and hard fruits and vegetables.

HEALTH.COM: 50 Holiday Foods You Shouldn’t Eat

Poisonous holiday plants

Hold the holly (and mistletoe) if you plan to have small children or pets around during the holidays. All can be toxic, and even pine cones and falling berries can pose a choking hazard. Best bet is to make sure no one smaller than a holly bush gets near seasonal plants this year.

Deep-fried-turkey fireballs

Deep-frying your turkey can be so dangerous that Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety certifier, has refused to stamp any fryers on the market with its iconic UL logo. From 1998 to 2007, there were at least 138 incidents involving turkey fryers that caused 36 injuries and more than $7.8 million in property loss. (Watch UL techs demonstrate the perils of frying.) Still, if you must deep-fry your bird, follow your fryer’s instructions carefully, and heed these safety tips.

Holiday heart attacks

Think the weather outside is frightful? Check the perfect storm of heart attack risk factors looming on the horizon. It’s the worst time of year for heart trouble, with heart-related deaths peaking in late December and early January. (The deadliest day? December 25, according to one study.) Why? There are lots of reasons: holiday stress, heavy meals (a known heart attack trigger), ignoring chest pain for fear of disrupting the festive mood, skipping meds in the hustle and bustle, and understaffed hospitals. Stay safe by being aware: Take your meds and watch for symptoms. Oh, and moderation is key.

HEALTH.COM: 10 Worst Jobs for Your Lungs

Flammable Christmas trees

Each year, more than 400 residential fires involve Christmas trees, resulting in as many as 40 deaths and 100 injuries. In fact, though Christmas trees cause the fewest holiday-related fires, they account for the greatest percentage of deaths, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The safest tree is a flame-resistant artificial one; follow this advice if you want to bring a fresh one home.

Toy horrors

Besides troublesome questions about the safety of toys made in China, now you must face the most dreaded of all holiday hazards—opening the gifts. Sounds simple, but each year about 6,000 people in the United States visit the ER with wounds from trying to pry, slice, or stab open gifts encased in hard plastic “clamshells” or held down with a thousand metal twist ties. Some retailers, including Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, and Best Buy, are moving toward easy-to-open packaging. Learn more about the health hazards of the toys themselves.

Seasonal car accidents

Thanksgiving is not only a traffic-filled holiday, it’s also one of the most deadly. In 2006, 623 people lost their lives in car crashes. Christmas and New Year’s, when alcohol is responsible for nearly half of accident fatalities, also have their share of road peril.

To stay safe from those statistics, John Kennedy, executive director of the Driver and Roadway Safety Department of the National Safety Council, offers these tips.

• Always wear your safety belt and have children in properly installed car seats.
• Stay sober or designate a driver.
• Keep your eyes on the road. Let passengers enjoy the scenery and chat on the phone.
• Maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of you.
• Plan your route ahead of time.
• Give your car a winter once-over: Check ignition, brakes, hoses, fan belts, spark plugs, tire air, headlights, battery, and wipers. Carry a shovel, jumper cables, tool kit, and a bag of salt or cat litter for traction.
• Don’t drive early on Saturday morning. “It’s a very hazardous time. A lot of people are driving under the influence or drowsy,” warns Kennedy. And if you can stay in or use public transportation on New Year’s Eve, do it.

HEALTH.COM: 21 Holiday Health Mistakes

Sledding catastrophes

As George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life could tell you, sledding can be very dangerous. What seems like good, clean family fun causes 33,000 injuries each year, according to the National Safety Council. Before you hit the hill, read these safety tips from the NSC.

• Keep all equipment in good condition.
• Choose a spacious, gently sloping hill free of trees, fences, rocks, or other obstacles—and make sure it doesn’t cross traffic.
• Do not sled on or around frozen lakes, streams, or ponds (like poor little Peter Bailey did).
• Assume the proper position: Sit or lie on your back on the top of the sled, with your feet pointing downhill.
• Wear thick gloves or mittens and protective boots.

Sleep problems

A good night’s rest is often the first thing we sacrifice in the midst of late-night parties, early-morning shopping, and year-end deadlines. For people traveling on vacations or to relatives’ houses, obstacles such as red-eye flights, jet lag, and unfamiliar bedrooms can disrupt z’s as well. But skimping on sleep can lower immunity, increase stress levels, and lead to weight gain; plus, it raises your risk for depression and automobile accidents. As tempting as it is to ignore, it’s important to make sleep a priority to ensure a happy and healthy holiday.

People who take sleeping pills may have their own set of holiday worries: Read about more ways the season can disrupt sleep and medication usage.

Decorating disasters

Decorations sure are pretty, but the fact that more than 5,000 people are injured in decorating-related falls each holiday season is not. To make sure you’re not a statistic this year, do the following when stringing lights or hanging mistletoe.

• Check that the ladder is on secure and level ground.
• Space the ladder 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet high it reaches.
• Stay centered between rails and do not overreach.
• Don’t step on the top two rungs.
• For roof access, extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the roof.
• Keep the top and the bottom of the ladder clear of obstacles.
• Make sure the ladder is locked open.

HEALTH.COM: 15 Natural Back Pain Remedies

Stress

Stress around the holidays can be worse than other times because people tend to overcommit themselves,” says Jennifer Caudle, DO, a board-certified family physician and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. Women especially find the holidays hard to manage. A study from the American Psychological Association found that 44% of women reported increased stress around the holidays compared to 31% of men. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to enlist some help. Say you’re worried the family dinner won’t be prepared on time. Ask others to bring dishes or help you set the table, Caudle suggests.

Holiday shopping

With any shopping trip, you need to watch how much you carry. Going from store to store with several bags could bring on back pain and wear you down. “This is not the time to be a superhero,” Caudle says. “Take breaks so you’re not standing on your feet the entire day.” Another smart move: when shopping at the mall, drop bags off at your car between stores. How you carry and lift heavy objects is also important. “Bend at the knees and tighten the stomach muscles while lifting,” Caudle says. “Hold the item close to you to distribute the weight with legs a good distance apart.”

Food poisoning

Each year, about 48 million people are hospitalized because of foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With all the food made around the holidays, it’s a prime time to get sick. You should be mindful of preparing meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs especially, Caudle says. Use separate cutting boards and dishes so bacteria can’t spread from one food to the next. Make sure ground meat like is cooked to 160 degrees, chicken reaches 165 degrees, and whole meat (like steak) gets to at least 145 degrees. “Bacteria grow on foods as they drop in temperature,” Caudle says. So don’t leave dishes sitting out for long periods and put away leftovers within two hours, she says.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME advice

How to Build a Healthier Thanksgiving Plate

Thanksgiving plate
Getty Images

Experts estimate the average American can consume thousands of calories at Thanksgiving dinner. Here's how to approach the holiday like a nutrition pro

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

No one ever said Thanksgiving dinner was healthy. But there are certain tricks to make it a littlehealthier—and to avoid riding out an uncomfortable food coma on the couch for the rest of the night. Whether you’re doling out your own portions, or you’re at the mercy of Aunt Ida passing out plates piled high with “a little bit of everything,” knowing which foods you should be eating more of—and which you should only enjoy a few bites of—will help you make the best possible choices.

Start by filling half your plate with vegetables, then pile one-quarter up with turkey breast, and leave the remaining one-quarter for starchy sides. Here, some more expert-approved guidelines for keeping portions in check this Thanksgiving Day.

Start with soup.

Pour yourself a bowl of seasonal veggie soup, suggests Katherine Tallmadge, RD, author of Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations. She recommends a butternut squash soup, or a broccoli and carrot soup with potatoes and thyme. Kicking off your meal with soup will help you slow down while eating, and research has shown it may even reduce the number of calories you consume at your main meal.

Go crazy with the right veggies.

Fill up 50 percent of your plate with non-starchy veggies. This may include Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, or a green salad, says Lori Zanini, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Stick with smaller portions of starchy (read: higher-calorie) veggies, such as corn, potatoes, green peas, and winter squashes.

In charge of the prep? Put colorful vegetables together in dishes and use herbs, spices, onions and garlic to flavor them with fewer calories—try cooked carrots and cumin or Brussels sprouts with garlic. You can also add a healthy twist to classic comfort foods, like replacing green bean casserole with some grilled green beans flavored with garlic and red pepper flakes, Zanini says.

Make an array of interesting vegetable dishes, instead of lots of starchy dishes, suggests Tallmadge. “We tend to passively overeat when presented with variety, so if you want to give your guests a medley of dishes, have them be veggie-based,” she says.

(MORE: 100 Things to Be Thankful For This Year)

Fill up on skinless turkey breast.

The turkey itself is relatively low in calories if you stick to skinless white meat, so most of our nutritionists don’t mind if you eat a little more than the recommended 3 ounces of protein (about a size of a deck of cards or an iPhone 6 Plus, which is 5.5 inches long). “I have certainly seen individuals pile their plates with more than three times the appropriate portion size on Thanksgiving Day,” says Zanini.

“I am a big fan of protein because it keeps you fuller for longer so I would serve myself the equivalent of nearly two decks of playing cards of turkey,” says Liz Ward, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better.

Scoop sides on sparingly.

Choose your favorite “special” sides that you only see around the holidays and keep servings to a half-cup. Stuffing? Worth it. A plain-old everyday roll? Not so much. One serving of starchy sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, and cranberry sauce is equal to ½ cup, which would look like half of a baseball.

Count “casseroles” of any type as your starch. “Since I am originally from the South, I know too well that even ‘veggie’ casseroles, like broccoli casserole and green bean casserole, often call for creamy soups, sticks of butter, and large amounts of cheese in their ingredient lists,” says Zanini. “Not only do these types of dishes contribute excessive amounts of calories, but they’re also very high in sodium.” Remember sodium leads to water retention and belly bloat (a.k.a. one more reason your pants won’t button tomorrow).

(MORE: Thanksgiving Games to Get the Whole Family Moving)

Practice portion control with your favorite dessert.

Most 9-inch pies are meant to be cut into eight slices. If your pie is only sliced into six pieces, your portions are probably too large. One trick if you’re trying to cut back? Tallmadge recommends limiting variety—if there’s only one type of pie to choose from, you’ll probably stick to one slice. Don’t feel like additional ice cream or whipped topping is a requirement, but if you are going to finish a slice off with some, keep it to a golf ball-sized amount.

Beware sneaky calories.

You might be patting yourself on the back for bypassing the stuffing and gravy, but if you munched on cheese and crackers all day while cooking, know that those calories add up, as well. If you’re hungry while cooking, nosh on raw veggies and hummus or fruit, suggests Tallmadge.

Drinks count, too. Many of us have large wine goblets and beer mugs and don’t even know what a proper serving looks like in those glasses. Using a measuring cup if you need to, pour 5 ounces of wine into a glass so you know the line that marks one serving. “And never refill your wine glass when you’ve had just a few sips,” Ward says. “Drink it to the last drop and then pour some more. That’s how you keep track.” A serving of beer is 12 ounces, and a serving of 80-proof distilled spirits (like gin, vodka, whiskey) is 1.5 ounces. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily intake to one drink for women and two for men.

And remember, the first couple of bites of any food are often the most enjoyable. “Don’t waste your calories, but don’t avoid your favorite foods, either,” Ward says. “Eat foods that you love and that aren’t available at other times of the year, like homemade cranberry sauce, specialty sides, and pumpkin pie, and forgo everyday foods like chips, rolls, and mashed potatoes.”

(MORE: How To Host An Incredible Thanksgiving Without Losing Your Mind)

TIME Diet/Nutrition

20 Filling Foods That Help You Lose Weight

almonds
Getty Images

Any dieter's number-one obstacle: hunger! Load your plate with these super-satisfying foods and watch the pounds melt away

If the theme song for every diet you’ve tried would be “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” you should keep reading. “One of the biggest challenges when you’re trying to lose weight is combating hunger and the desire to eat,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, and Health’s contributing nutrition editor. The simple solution: eat filling foods that stick with you. “Foods that contain fiber, protein, and plant-based fat tend to be the most satiating,” Sass says. These nutrients slow down digestion and the absorption of nutrients, a process that helps you feel physically full for longer, and also means no blood sugar or insulin spikes.

While you might find some of the research that follows surprising, there are no magic potions or super bars on this list. They’re all nutrient-rich whole foods, which a recent study revealed increase calorie burning by roughly 50% compared to processed foods, adds Sass. Eating less without feeling like you’re on a diet and burning more calories? We’ll take it.

HEALTH.COM: 11 Foods That Make You Hungrier

Potatoes

“Many people still think that because potatoes have a high glycemic index they will induce cravings and weight gain, but research shows this isn’t the case,” says Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, potatoes ranked number one on the famous satiety index, which was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1995. During the low-carb years, they fell out of favor, but lately there’s been a renewed interest in studying their effect on diet and weight loss. After all, even though a potato is carb-heavy, it is a vegetable—one medium spud contains 168 calories with 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Some experts argue that they are particularly satisfying because of they contain resistant starch—complex starch molecules that we can’t digest.

Try this recipe: Mashed Potatoes

Apples and pears

With a satisfying crunch—or in the case of certain softer varieties, a sweet, juicy bite—pears provide a lot of bang for your buck (the dollar kind and nutritional kind). For less than $1 and around 100 calories, you get between 4 and 6 grams of appetite-suppressing fiber, plus lots of antioxidants. A recent study from Washington State University suggests that Granny Smiths are the most beneficial for our gut bacteria due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fiber. Researchers believe that re-establishing a healthy balance of bacteria in the colon stabilizes metabolic processes, helping to increase satiety and reduce inflammation, which has been associated with chronic health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Try this recipe: Cranberry-Poached Pears

Almonds

If you’re looking for the perfect on-the-go snack, almonds might just be it. Several recent studies have found that snacking on them helps you stay satiated throughout the day, and eat less at meals. A small handful is the ideal portion size (about 1 ounce, or 22 almonds)—for 160 calories, you get a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. Bonus: they’re loaded with vitamin E, which is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Try this recipe: Honey-Glazed Marcona Almonds

Lentils

No surprise here. People have been filling their belly with hearty lentils for thousands of years, and staying full for hours thanks to 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving (3/4 cup). A recent study published in the journal Obesity reviewed nine randomized controlled trials that measured the effect of pulses (such as lentils, black beans, and chickpeas) on post-meal satiety. Participants felt 31% fuller after eating one serving of pulses compared to the control meals of quickly digested foods such as bread and pasta. One study published earlier this year in The FASEB Journal even found that beans were as satisfying as beef.

Try this recipe: Lentil and Chickpea Salad

Cacao nibs

You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate is heart-healthy and packed with antioxidants. But why is it so satisfying? It contains happy-making brain chemicals such as serotonin. Its health benefits come from cacao beans, but most chocolate also contains sugar. That’s why some experts advise eating the beans themselves, in the form of less-processed cacao nibs (crunchy, broken up bean bits), which offer 9 grams of fiber per ounce (compared to none in 1 ounce of a typical milk chocolate bar). “I recommend cacao nibs or dark chocolate with more than 70% cacao to my clients,” says dietitian Ashley Koff, RD, a New York-based dietitian. “You get a natural energy boost from its theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, plus magnesium, which is mother nature’s anti-stress mineral,” she explains.

HEALTH.COM: 11 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

Hemp hearts

Also known as shelled hemp seeds, these have only recently made their way into mainstream grocery stores. Hemp—a relative of marijuana—is perfectly legal, and packs more protein than chia or flax, in addition to fiber. Since it contains a complete essential amino acid profile and is rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as omega-3, it’s a great option for vegans who want to add more staying power to their meals. These deliciously nutty little seeds can be eaten as a topping on oatmeal, yogurt, and salads, or blended into smoothies.

HEALTH.COM: 5 Fat-Burning Body Weight Exercises

Kimchi

In addition to adding a satisfying complexity to meals, foods that have been fermented, like kimchi and sauerkraut, contain probiotics that aid digestion, says Koff. And when you keep your gut happy, it has vast positive effects on your health. One recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that maintaining healthy bacteria levels in the gut improve the functioning of the gut lining, and may help reduce fat mass, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Another study from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Ajou University School of Medicine in Korea, which focused specifically on kimchi, had similar findings.

Try this recipe: Spicy Beef and Kimchi Stew

Lemons

Add the juice and pulp of this citrus fruit to pump up the flavor of everything from your ice water to salads, smoothies, and cooked fish, for almost no calories, recommends Koff. In addition to making the food taste better, the pectin fiber in this citrus fruit may help you fight off hunger cravings. “Lemons are also an alkaline-forming food that helps promote an optimal pH in the intestines,” she explains, which some say can help with digestion and aid in weight loss, though these claims have not yet been proven with scientific research.

Try this recipe: Halibut with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Greek yogurt

Dubost recommends dairy foods of all types to her clients, but especially higher protein options like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. The satiating effects of yogurt are especially well researched. In one study published last year in the journal Appetite, participants were given a 160-calorie yogurt snack three hours after lunch that contained either low protein, moderate protein, or high protein. Those who ate the high-protein yogurt (a Greek yogurt containing 24 grams of protein) felt full the longest, and ate dinner later than the other subjects. Some studies also suggest that the acids produced during yogurt fermentation increase satiety.

Try this recipe: Greek Yogurt Fruit Parfait

Eggs

Two large hardboiled eggs only set you back 140 calories and provide 12 grams of complete protein, which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids that your body needs but can’t make itself, says Dubost (all animal proteins offer a “complete” amino acid profile). A study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that eating eggs at breakfast helped dieters feel less hungry for a full 24 hours, while also stabilizing their blood sugar levels and helping them eat fewer calories over the course of the day.

HEALTH.COM: 14 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Lean beef

Lean cuts of beef such as sirloin, tenderloin, and top round are high in protein and offer a complete amino acid profile, which make them extremely satiating. A healthy 4-ounce portion of as sirloin steak contains 200 calories and 32 grams of protein. Just don’t go overboard—even lean cuts of red meat are relatively high in saturated fat, and eating a lot of it has been associated with heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Limit yourself to one serving a week.

Try this recipe: Pepper Steak Fajitas

Broth-based soup

“Based on the latest research the most satiating foods pack plenty of protein and fiber, along with high water content,” says Dubost. Finding a food with all three of those can be tough, but a broth-based soup with vegetables and lentils or beans does it, she says. It’s well known that fiber-rich vegetables help you stay full longer for few calories. Many previous studies have demonstrated the satiating effect of soups compared to solid meals, but an interesting study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that smooth soups actually result in more fullness because they digest more slowly than chunky soups. Bring on the blender!

Try this recipe: Chicken and White Bean Soup with Greens

Hot oatmeal

When your mom told you to eat your oats, she was right. Just make sure they’re cooked. One recent study published in Nutrition Journal found that calorie-for-calorie, oatmeal cooked with nonfat milk was more satisfying than oat-based cold cereal with nonfat milk. Participants who ate about 220 calories of the hot kind for breakfast reported less hunger and increased fullness compared to the cereal eaters—possibly because satiety is enhanced by the higher viscosity of the beta-glucan in the cooked oatmeal. Another new study suggests that its resistant starch may boost beneficial gut bacteria, which—according to mounting evidence—keep the good mood brain chemicals flowing.

Try this recipe: Banana-Nut Oatmeal

Avocado

Just thinking about rich, creamy avocado is satisfying. Yes, it’s high in fat—but the good kind. Its plant-based fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help ease arthritis and lower risk of heart disease. Plus, half an avocado packs 7 grams of fiber. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, researchers found that adding half an avocado to lunch increased subjects’ satisfaction by 26% and reduced their desire to eat by 40% for 3 hours. Like olive oil, it increases absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, making diced avocado the perfect way to ensure your salad is delicious, filling, and fully utilized by your bod.

Try this recipe: Avocado Jewel Salad

Raspberries

Berries can be pricier than other fruits, which ups their indulgence factor and may cause you to slow down and savor, which can increase food satisfaction. Sun-ripened raspberries taste sweet, but are surprisingly low in sugar (5 grams for a whole cup) and high in fiber (8 grams per cup). Translation: a sweet tooth fix without the blood sugar spike. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that polyphenol-rich berries like raspberries may even reduce the digestion of starch in bread—and the typical insulin spike response.

Try this recipe: Chocolate Chip Pavlovas With Raspberries and Apricots

Leeks

New research indicates that gut health—which influences mood, satiety, and metabolism—is closely related to the diversity of your gut bacteria, known as your microbiome. The bacteria in your colon need to be fed dietary fiber to flourish, but most of the fiber we eat is short-chain. Only fructan and cellulose fibers (types of prebiotics) are long enough to survive all the way down the GI tract, according to Jeff Leach, founder of the American Gut Project. Leeks are one of the top sources of fructan (10 grams per leek) and cellulose. One caveat: Cooking shortens the fiber chain, so to reap the maximum benefits, eat raw or lightly sauteed.

Try this recipe: Leek and Broccoli Tartlets with Pancetta

Quinoa

Even though it’s categorized as a grain, and treated like one in recipes, quinoa is technically the seed of a plant related to spinach, beets, and chard. Ever since it was first stocked at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in 2007, it has exploded in popularity as a gluten-free, vegan source of “complete” protein, with 8 grams per cup cooked. It also has almost double the fiber of brown rice, which gives it extra hunger-squashing power, says Sass.

Try this recipe: 15 Creative Quinoa Recipes

Fish

Fish is another very efficient source of protein. Many types of white fish are extremely lean, and fattier varieties such as salmon pack healthy omega-3 fats. Some studies suggest that fish protein may be slightly more satiating than beef protein, but more research is needed to explain why. One possible explanation is that fish are naturally high in the amino acid L-glutamate, which is associated with umami, a savory-rich taste linked to satiety.

Try this recipe: Artichoke-Parmesan Stuffed Tilapia

Popcorn

Did you know popcorn is a whole grain? Yep. Four cups contain 3 grams of fiber and protein each. But its biggest trick is volume. Four cups takes up a lot of room in your stomach and as long as you eat it with only a little salt and tiny bit of oil, that size serving will set you back less than 150 calories. One study found that snacking on popcorn helped dieters satisfy their hunger while staying on track with their weight-loss plan.

HEALTH.COM: Best Superfoods for Weight Loss

Flax Seed

“In my experience, both personally and with my clients, seeds are incredibly filling and satiating,” says Sass. One study from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that meals supplemented with 2.4 grams of flaxseed fiber promoted a greater feeling of satiety and fullness in men compared to meals without the fiber. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 37 calories, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which includes omega-3s and 2 grams of fiber. Note: whole flaxseeds will pass through your system without being digested, so buy them ground or do it yourself using a spice grinder.

HEALTH.COM: 13 Comfort Foods That Burn Fat

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Crime

Darren Wilson Evidence Photos: What He Looked Like After Killing Michael Brown

These four images offer the clearest view of Wilson's wounds

The images below show Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson shortly after he fatally shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. In grand jury testimony, Wilson described Brown as a violent aggressor who made the officer fear for his life. “When I grabbed him,” Wilson said in testimony, “the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

On Monday, the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney released 38 pictures of Wilson taken after the deadly encounter. The four below offer the clearest view of his injuries.

 

Darren Wilson Ferguson Police Officer
St. Louis County
Darren Wilson Ferguson Police Officer
St. Louis County
Darren Wilson Ferguson Police Officer
St. Louis County
Darren Wilson Ferguson Police Officer
St. Louis County
TIME Diet/Nutrition

How to Burn Off 24 Holiday Foods

apple pie
Getty Images

Here's just how much exercise you'd need to burn off your favorite foods

The average adult gains 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but think about it: if you pack on 2 pounds annually on fattening holiday foods, then you’ll be up 10 pounds by year five.

This year, prepare for 6 weeks of temptation by familiarizing yourself with just how much activity you’d need to burn off your favorite foods. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people were less likely to buy a 20-ounce bottle of soda when they learned that they’d have to run for 50 minutes to burn it off. Note: calorie counts for these dishes vary widely by recipe, and exercise calculations are based on a 150-pound person.

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is actually one of the healthier desserts you can eat during the holidays—the gourd is an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, and a slice racks up fewer calories than other seasonal favorites. Just be sure to limit yourself to one-eighth slice of a pie.
Calories: 323 per slice
Burn it off: Ice skate for 41 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 13 Comfort Foods That Burn Fat

Apple pie

The main ingredient in apple pie is, of course, apples. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the sweet treat is a nutritious food. One slice contains 14 grams of fat, with 5 grams of saturated fat. Still, it’s one of the safer bets on the holiday dessert table.
Calories: 296 per slice
Burn it off: Build a snowman for 53 minutes

Pecan pie

From the best, we segue to the worst. Pecan pie is notoriously high in fat and calories. Why? The main ingredients are butter, sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and pecans. One slice racks up 41% of your daily allowance of total fat, with 27 grams (5 saturated).
Calories: 503 per slice
Burn it off: Shovel snow for an hour and 15 minutes

Sweet potato pie

If you must have sweet potato pie over the holidays, at least follow a recipe that excludes the traditional meringue topping. The mixture of well-beaten egg whites and sugar adds about 125 calories to your slice.
Calories: 510 per slice
Burn it off: Go snowboarding for an hour and 11 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 12 Winter Superfoods That Warm You Up

Turkey leg

A giant turkey leg supplies a day’s worth of fat (54 grams) and enough calories for two large meals. Why not have a serving of turkey breast instead, and pair it with just a small portion of the dark meat? You’ll save over 800 calories.
Calories: 1,135 per leg
Burn it off: Run a Turkey Trot 5K race—and then run it three more times

Store-bought stuffing

Don’t let the relatively low calorie count fool you: bread stuffing is still a dieter’s disaster. This type of stuffing is no more than seasoned white bread cut into small hunks and soaked with melted butter. This year, try making your own stuffing.
Calories: 150 per 1/2 cup
Burn it off: Run for 15 minutes

Eggnog

Having a cup of eggnog is like drinking a small meal. The sugar, whipping cream, eggs, and your choice of brandy, rum, or bourbon add up to 11 grams of fat (7 saturated), 150 milligrams of cholesterol—half a day’s worth!—and 20 grams of sugar.
Calories: 223 per cup
Burn it off: Cross-country ski for 25 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 50 Holiday Foods You Shouldn’t Eat

Pot roast

A braised pot roast will be one of the healthier options at your holiday dinner table. Pot roast is made with chuck, a leaner beef cut, and is usually cooked slowly either in the oven or in a slow cooker along with carrots and potatoes.
Calories: 280 per 3-ounce serving
Burn it off: Showshoe for 34 minutes

Fruitcake

The main ingredients in fruitcake are dried fruit and nuts. That’s not so bad, right? Wrong: dried fruit is a sneaky diet saboteur. Since dried fruit is just regular fruit with the water taken out (and sometimes with more sugar added in), a cup of dried fruit packs five to eight times more calories and sugar than a cup of the fresh stuff. And although nuts are filled with good-for-you fats, they need to be consumed in moderation.
Calories: 410 per slice
Burn it off: Chop firewood for 1 hour

Cranberry sauce (canned)

Though canned cranberry sauce doesn’t rack up as many calories as many of the other dishes on this list, you’d be better off making one of our delicious and healthy cranberry recipes instead. Why? Many cranberry jellies are made with high fructose corn syrup, which some studies show contributes to obesity more than regular sugar. (Besides, do you really want to eat something in the shape of a can?)
Calories: 110 per 1/4 cup
Burn it off: Go sledding for 15 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 24 Mouthwatering Cranberry Recipes

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping

Oh, sweet potatoes. The sweet spud packs 438% of your daily value of vitamin A and 37% of your vitamin C, and they’re also a good source of calcium, potassium, iron, and fiber. Too bad mixing them with scoops of brown sugar and topping them with marshmallows pretty much cancels out those benefits.
Calories: About 250 per scoop
Burn it off: Downhill ski for 35 minutes

Mashed potatoes with gravy

A typical mashed potato recipe features cream, salt, and lots of butter. You know what that means: calories and unhealthy fats. Cut the calorie count of your recipe in half by skipping the gravy altogether, limiting the butter to 1 tablespoon per potato, using naturally creamy Yukon Gold potatoes, and swapping in reduced-fat milk for the cream.
Calories: 230 per 3/4 cup
Burn it off: Do jumping jacks for 23 minutes

Candy cane

A candy cane is one holiday sweet we can endorse. Sure, they’re made from sugar and…not much else, but at 60 calories, having one (just one) won’t wreck your diet. It also takes a while to eat one, which will make you more satisfied in the end.
Calories: 60
Burn it off: Walk up and down stairs for 7 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 10 Signs Your House is Making You Fat

Glazed ham

Nothing says Christmas dinner quite like a juicy glazed ham. Lucky for you, a serving of the traditional dish only sets you back 120 calories. A 3-ounce slice also supplies 16 grams of protein, which will help fill you up (and with any luck eat less off the dessert table). Just be sure to choose a low-sodium piece of pork.
Calories: 120 calories per 3-ounce slice
Burn it off: Go hiking for 15 minutes

Chocolate orange

The good news: dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to reduce blood pressure, protect the heart and brain, and curb cravings. The bad news: a chocolate orange is made with milk chocolate, which doesn’t boast the same benefits and contains a lot more sugar. Indulge in a couple squares of 70% cacao dark chocolate with an actual orange instead.
Calories: 230 per 5-slice serving
Burn it off: Sing Christmas carols door-to-door for 77 minutes

Mulled wine

Having a glass of red wine a day may boost heart health, but that may not be the case when it comes to mulled wine. Served warm and mixed with cinnamon, cloves, and orange, some mulled wine recipes also call for added sugar. Make your own healthy indulgence by nixing the sugar altogether by intensifying the spices.
Calories: 183 per glass
Burn it off: Walk up hill carrying a 10-pound turkey for 22 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 11 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

Cutout sugar cookie

Cutout cookies in the shape of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and reindeer may be the ultimate comfort food. Not only do they taste delicious; they also bring back fun childhood memories. As long as you have just one, they’re a relatively guilt-free treat. Try a healthier spin on the classic recipe with this whole-wheat version.
Calories: 126 per cookie
Burn it off: Stand for 1 hour

Green bean casserole

Take a can of green beans, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, some fried onions, and what do you get? A total sodium bomb. Sure, it’ll only cost you 120 calories, but canned foods are notoriously high in salt. One tiny scoop contains 550 milligrams, or about a quarter of what you’re supposed to consume in an entire day.
Calories: 120 per scoop
Burn it off: Volunteer at a soup kitchen for 27 minutes

Popcorn ball

Popcorn is a healthy whole-grain snack—when you eat it plain. Rolling the kernels into balls with sugar, corn syrup, and salt probably negates any of the nutritional benefits. For a healthier holiday treat, sprinkle your popcorn with cinnamon.
Calories: 170 per 3-inch ball
Burn it off: Walk through snow for 30 minutes

HEALTH.COM: 14 Fad Diets You Shouldn’t Try

Apple cider

With potassium, iron, and no added sugar, apple cider is a relatively smart sipper. Try this recipe for Spiced Apple Cider, which is spiked with your choice of Calvados or applejack.
Calories: 100 per cup plain; 173 per cup spiced
Burn it off: Do 15 minutes of body weight exercises in your living room

Champagne

If losing weight is one of your new year’s resolutions, then you’ll want to cut back on booze. But go ahead and ring in the new year with a champagne toast. You’ll easily burn off the bubbly when you get back on the dance floor.
Calories: 90 per 4-ounce glass
Burn it off: Hit the dance floor for 18 minutes

Gingerbread man

Be sure your gingerbread recipe contains real ginger. In addition to adding flavor to your cookies, the multitasking spice also soothes achy muscles and improves blood flow and circulation.
Calories: 158 per cookie
Burn it off: Go holiday shopping for 1 hour

Mixed nuts

As long as you stick to one handful, the nut bowl serves up a healthy holiday snack. Nuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Remember, unsalted nuts are best.
Calories: 172 per ounce
Burn it off: Rake leaves for 34 minutes

Prime rib

Pile a few sides on your plate along with your slice of prime rib, and you’ve consumed enough calories to last you an entire day. Eating a lot of red meat has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and a shortened lifespan, but an occasional indulgence in a lower-fat cut, like tenderloin, is OK.
Calories: 1,035 per slice
Burn it off: Play touch football for 2 hours

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Food

Calorie Counts Will Be Required More Places Than Ever Before Under New Rules

Nutritional Information Label
Fuse/Getty Images

FDA unveiling new guidelines

Regulators on Tuesday will announce new rules mandating that a wider array of businesses than ever before display calorie counts for their food, including chain restaurants, movie theaters and even vending machines.

The rules will be unveiled Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration and will take effect in one year, the New York Times reports, amid a push to combat obesity in the U.S.

“This is one of the most important public health nutrition policies ever to be passed nationally,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The rules will cover restaurants with 20 or more locations, amusement parks, vending machines and certain foods in grocery stores. And for the first time, alcoholic beverages will be included, too.

[NYT]

TIME ebola

The U.N. Says It Cannot Meet Its Dec. 1 Target Date for Containing Ebola

TOPSHOTS-SLEONE-HEALTH-EBOLA-WAFRICA
A cemetery at the Kenama Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone run by the Red Cross Society on Nov. 15, 2014 Francisco Leong—AFP/Getty Images

"Intense" transmission of the virus in West Africa, especially in Sierra Leone, continues to bedevil efforts

The U.N. mission responsible for responding to the Ebola outbreak will miss its Dec. 1 target for containing the disease because of rising transmission rates in the West African countries of Sierra Leone and Mali.

Anthony Banbury, the head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), told Reuters that though progress has been made in some areas — including in Liberia, one of the countries hardest hit by the current outbreak — setbacks elsewhere have put the mission off its target.

UNMEER said in September that it hoped to have 70% of Ebola patients in treatment, and 70% of Ebola victims safely buried, by the start of next month. But just 13% of Ebola patients have been isolated in Sierra Leone, according to a UNMEER statement.

“Progress is slow and we are falling short, and we need to accelerate our efforts,” said Amadu Kamara, the U.N.’s Ebola crisis manager for Sierra Leone, in a statement.

The Ebola virus has killed some 5,459 people worldwide, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The most recent World Health Organization situation report, released on Friday, describes transmission rates in all three countries as “intense.”

Mali, which was believed to be Ebola-free after a toddler’s death from the virus there in October, said on Monday that an eighth person in the nation had tested positive for the disease.

Still, UNMEER said that it is hopeful that efforts to stop the virus in Mali will benefit from lessons learned in the three nations still reeling from Ebola.

Banbury also told Reuters that Liberia was a bright point in the mission’s efforts to contain the virus.

Liberia’s President expressed optimism at a ceremony on Monday that her country, whose economy has been gutted by the outbreak, could still reach its goal of no new Ebola cases by Christmas.

“We’ve set a pretty tough target,” said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Associated Press reports. “But when you set a target, it means that you stay focused on that target and on that goal.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser