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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

There’s a popular saying during the holidays that calories don’t count. This standard gets you off the hook with all of your friends, but unfortunately, no one ever told your body about this seasonal rule.

​​Maintaining a healthy diet over the holidays is about finding balance. You shouldn’t overindulge, but it’s also best to avoid depriving yourself. Follow these healthy hol​iday tips to help find the sweet spot of enjoying holiday traditions while treating your body well.

Budget Calories


Approach your daily calorie allowance like a monetary budget. “Spend” your calories on the items that you really want to eat. You won’t feel deprived and you’ll make sure the extra calories are for things you really enjoy.

The Confection Convenience Factor


​If something is in front of us, we have a tendency to snack on it. Instead of setting out rolls or desserts while you’re waiting for the main course and hot sides to cook, leave out a veggie or fruit tray. This way, if you’re tempted to snag a snack, it’s a healthier option!

Survey, then Serve

Before digging in to the first bowl at the table, take a look at everything you have available to you. If there is a dish that you don’t particularly care for, skip it and save room for one that you truly enjoy or only get to have during the holiday season.

Knowing what is coming up in the food line will also help you choose a good balance of all of the food groups.

Avoid Portion Distortion

Over-sized plates and heaping restaurant servings have skewed our perceptions of how much we should eat on a regular basis.

Decorative holiday plates are festive, but they also tend to be larger than we need. When we see these big plates, we are compelled to fill them.

Try to stick to a plate that is 9 to 10 inches across. Then, use the MyPlate guidelines to fill your plate with a well-rounded meal.

  • Half of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables.
  • A quarter of the plate should be filled with protein.
  • A quarter of the plate should be filled with carbs and starches. (Don’t forget that potatoes and corn count as starches!)

Savor Some Sweets

Instead of cutting yourself off completely from a certain type of food (i.e. carbs or sugars), allow yourself to have a couple of bites of your favorite dishes to make sure you don’t reach a breaking point and consume excessive amounts of what you’ve been avoiding.

To limit the amount of sweets you eat, offer to split a dessert with a sibling or consider dividing the desserts into small portion sizes before everyone starts going through the line.

  • Healthy Holiday Tips

    When the holidays come around it's always a good idea to be realistic.

    A lot of people want to lose weight but the holidays are a difficult time to do that, so it's probably more realistic to just focus on trying to maintain your current weight.

    What can I do to offset the holiday eating?

    Emphasize exercise, get maybe 15 minutes of a walk in either twice a day or once a day, whatever you can afford, just anything that goes a little bit above and beyond what you normally do.

    How do I avoid over eating at a buffet style dinner party?

    Plan ahead! Survey before you start filling up your plate to get an idea what's all available.

    You want to make sure that you're eating the foods that you actually enjoy and not necessarily something just because it's on your plate.

    It's also a good idea to eat until you're satisfied and not stuffed.

    How do holiday cocktails interfere with a healthy holiday?

    It's important to remember that alcohol has calories as well, and so a lot of times we are focused so much on the foods that we eat, that we forget about the calories that we're drinking.

    There's 89 calories in a glass of wine and so that adds up over time. We can still have a drink around the holidays but drink responsibly.