Surviving the Holidays

For those of us trying to maintain healthy habits, the holiday season is often overwhelming. There are school parties, work potlucks and family get-togethers. You more than likely will indulge in decadent foods on more than one occasion. While this registered dietitian does not expect you to be perfect this holiday season, I do hope to arm you with strategies for making better choices.

  • Don’t skip meals. 


    1. One of the worst things you can do to encourage yourself to go overboard is to show up to a party hungry. You want to make sure to have a balanced breakfast and lunch beforehand. Don’t forget to include a healthy snack as well. Think fiber and protein to for better satiety.
  • Be mindful, not mindless. Make a party plan.


  • Don’t stand by the snack table or sit near the buffet.
  • Use a plate for snacking, not just your fingers and a napkin. This can eliminate some grazing if you limit yourself to one plate for appetizers.
  • Use a salad plate as your dinner plate. You can still have the satisfaction of filling up a plate without going overboard on portions.
  • Put your fork down between bites. This slows the rate at which you eat, allowing you to pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues.
  • Practice mindfulness. Think about what triggers you to eat. Hunger or pleasure? Once we become aware of why we eat, we can open our eyes to strategies for change. Ask yourself – “Am I eating this pecan pie because I am still hungry, and I really like pecan pie?” OR, “Am I just eating this pecan pie because it is dessert and I want something sweet?”
  • Be a role model for your kiddos. 


    1. If your children see you skipping meals in order to gorge on party food, they are likely to follow in your footsteps. Also, don’t buy candy and sweets too far in advance of a holiday celebration. This can provide unwanted temptation around the house.
  • Make exercising a priority.  


  1. Finally, remember, each day is a new day and we are given the opportunity to start over. One day of over-indulgence does not give you permission to give up for a month. Plus, studies show that people only gain an average of 1-2 pounds per holiday season. Strive to keep your family on track this holiday season.
  2. To burn off the average holiday feast, you would have to walk for twelve and a half hours. While that is not feasible, take your family out for a game of football after the big meal. Even a walk around the block or around your neighborhood park can relieve feelings of fullness. This, in turn, can relieve guilt often experienced after too much holiday indulgence.

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