Holidays don\’t have to kill your healthy eating habits.

For most people, the holidays are a busy time of year and are filled with many annual celebrations. For many, the holidays mean spending time with family, and friends, and celebrating the joys in life. Gatherings typically include special foods and temptations. Those fats and calories can easily add up as you enjoy your favorite holiday traditions. In this guide, you will learn how you can still keep healthy eating habits during the holidays.

Remember that the holidays don’t have to kill your healthy eating habits.

Don’t skip meals. 

Skipping a meal prior to a holiday event can often backfire and lead to even more overeating due to ravenous feelings of hunger. Having a filling snack, such as fruit, string cheese, yogurt, or a small handful of nuts, can curb your appetite and prevent overeating.

Bring your own dish. 

Ensure at least one nutritious choice is available at your celebration by contributing a healthy dish yourself, such as a fruit or veggie plate. Make it festive by arranging the ingredients in a holiday design like a wreath or tree.

Choose your Splurges. 

Scan the table for a couple of holiday favorites to splurge on instead of foods you can pick any other day of the week. Make sure you take time to enjoy the taste and smell the aroma of that special treat when you have it.

Choose drinks carefully. 

Stick to calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, and seltzer, instead of high-calorie festive drinks. Alcoholic beverages contribute to many empty calories and can make you have poor judgment with food, friends, and family. If you choose to drink alcohol please do so in moderation and alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

Go visit the people, not the food. 

Move socializing away from the food tables to prevent mindless eating. Humans eat mindlessly in times our brain is distracted and the person is not aware of what or how much food he/she is consuming. For example, mindless eating often takes place while another activity is simultaneously going on, such as:

  • Watching T.V.
  • Talking
  • Sitting in front of Computer.

If food is near you during these activities you are likely to fall victim to mindless eating before you even realize it. Remember that the holidays don’t have to kill your healthy eating habits and neither does your Uncle Bob.

Say no to food pushers (like Uncle Bob).

Don’t forget who is in control of what you eat. Be confident, decisive, and polite. You should not feel guilt or shame for wanting to stick to your goals. Suggestions to tell Uncle Bob:

  • I’m full, thanks.
  • It looks delicious but I just can’t manage anymore.
  • I’ve already eaten thanks
  • I literally just ate before I came over.

How do you politely turn down food?

Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. 

No one likes that icky, overstuffed feeling after a meal soon followed up by a “food coma.” Eat slowly and check your fullness levels while you are eating. Remember – there are always leftovers to be had.

Don’t feel guilty. 

If you overindulge, don’t beat yourself up. Just make sure your next meal is healthy and you incorporate some exercise into your routine.



Northwestern Medicine, Healthy eating Habits, 11 holiday eating tips from a registered dietitian

CDC, 5 healthy eating tips for the holidays


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