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Healthy holiday eating

  • Published
  • By Agnese Walker M.S., R.D.N.
  • 6th Medical Group Nutritional Medicine Clinic
  Food is everywhere during the holiday season, making it tough to stick to your healthy eating and exercise habits. However, with a little attention, you can make it through the holidays without losing track of your healthy lifestyle.


What can I do to prevent gaining weight over the holidays?

The best advice is to manage your own expectations. Do not expect to lose weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, therefore, focus on not gaining weight.


For success, keep a regular exercise pattern and healthy diet during this time. After all, the fine food of the holiday is one of the pleasures of the season. Allow yourself to splurge on foods that make your holiday season meaningful and enjoy your favorites in moderation. Try to cut back in other ways, as listed below, and keep your exercise schedule on track.


What can I do to stay active when I am traveling and cannot get to my gym?

Exercising during the hectic and sometimes stressful holiday season can help you maintain your weight and sanity. Walking, running, or stair-climbing are easy and can be performed almost anywhere when you are traveling. For resistance training, check your sporting goods store or online for rubber resistance bands. They slip easily into a travel bag and are lightweight, these are easy tools to use to strengthen and tone almost any body part. In addition, perform body weight exercises for toning and the best part is it is free! For example, squats, lunges, or pushups.


How can I stay on track and not overeat at holiday functions?

You can keep your calorie intake under control in many ways. Try these tips and see which ones work best for you:

  • Survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide what foods are worth eating and which ones you can ignore. Do not waste calories on foods that do not bring you pleasure.

  • Eat a snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party famished, you are more likely to eat too much.

  • Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Stick to lower calorie or calorie-free drinks instead of punches, eggnog, and mixed drinks that can have up to 500 calories per cup.

  • Sip a large glass of water between every alcoholic drink, nonalcoholic punch, or eggnog. This will help keep you hydrated and you will drink fewer calories by the end of the night.

  • When you are hosting, make sure the menu includes lower-calorie foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share.

  • Try not to hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room, and focus on people instead of eating.

  • Watch your portion sizes. Do not cover your plate completely with food. When it comes to holiday sweets and alcoholic beverages, less is better.

  • Drop out of the “clean plate club.” Leave a few bites behind every time you eat, especially if you are eating something you do not really care for. 

  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take them in small portion. Eat slowly and savor the taste and texture of the wonderful foods of the season.


    Call the 6th MDG Nutritional Medicine Clinic at 827-9360 for a one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian.