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10 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
By Julie C.H. Brake   View more articles by this author
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November 16

Regardless of religion, unhealthy foods abound during these last two months of the year.  Bowls and dishes in workplaces and homes are filled with fall-themed and then winter candies.  Feasts are held for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other winter holidays.  Most people decide to indulge themselves, knowing they will gain a few pounds, and pledge to lose it as a New Year’s resolution.  Here are 10 healthy habits to help avoid that weight gain:


  1. Keep to regular, healthy meals and snacks.  Skipping meals or snacks will lead to increased grazing at those candy bowls.
  2. Drink plenty of water, about 64 ounces daily.  Many times people feel hungry but are actually thirsty.  Staying well hydrated will help keep the body in touch with true hunger.
  3.  Pack “treats” that are healthier.  For example, bring a single small cookie to have with lunch or a chocolate chip granola bar for a snack.  These will meet sweet cravings without the extra calories and fat of treats that might be around the workplace.
  4.  Continue to keep healthy foods available.  Have fruits and veggies at home and at work.  If the balanced options are not there, the holiday treats will replace them.
  5.  Try to find balanced options at parties.  Look for fruit and veggie appetizers as well as lighter desserts.
  6. Watch out for empty-calorie fluids!  Alcohol quickly adds calories with no nutritional value.  Sodas and punches also contribute excess calories.  Enjoy these drinks in limited quantities and choose water when it is available.
  7. Offer to bring something to get-togethers.  Then choose to bring a healthier option.  A few examples are a baked or grilled item for a main dish, crackers and cheese for appetizers, raw veggies for a side item, and a fruit plate for dessert.  These things do not have to be made at home; grocery delis often have these items and are relatively reasonably priced.
  8. When attending a family meal, bring a healthy item.  Plain sweet potatoes or a vegetable casserole will ensure that veggies are available at the meal.
  9. Stay physically active.  Even making healthier choices, most people tend to eat more during the holidays.  Keeping up with 30-60 minutes of physical activity daily will help minimize weight gain.
  10. Have favorites on the actual holiday.  Trying to completely avoid all “unhealthy” foods will only result in eating a large amount of them later.  Allow controlled portions of the things you really enjoy!


For more personalized advice, seek out a Registered Dietitian in your area.  An individualized eating plan will provide a balanced approach for more specific healthy eating guidelines.


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