10 tips for eating healthy this holiday season

Holiday eating

The holidays are full of fun, family and, of course, food! So how can we enjoy those extra special treats we have during the holidays without overindulging? 

Here are ten tips for how to do just that. 

  1. Eat something with complex carbohydrates and protein before you go to a party, a meal or a restaurant. An example might be multigrain crackers with a lower-fat cheese like Swiss, mozzarella or provolone. An apple with peanut butter is another great choice. 
  2. The calories in eggnog, mixed drinks, wine and beer can add up quickly. Enjoy these seasonal beverages in smaller portions. Drink a glass of water before and between these special drinks. 
  3. Be mindful of your body cues and take your time. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you are getting full. Eat until you are satisfied, but not full. The goal is to avoid that miserable “stuffed” feeling. 
  4. Fill up on fiber-rich foods like vegetables. Fiber helps you feel satisfied and may help to control hunger. Raw vegetables dipped in salsa or hummus are a great option! 
  5. Choose your splurges and “spend” your calories wisely. Some foods are only available during the holidays. Enjoy those instead of foods that you can get any time of year. Take a look at all your options before you fill your plate and decide what you will eat. 
  6. It’s always a great idea to drink more water and the holidays are no exception. If you drink water before a meal or before a party, it may help to curb your appetite. 
  7. Bring a healthy food item with you so you will have at least one good choice. Some options might include a vegetable tray with hummus or salsa, a fruit bowl or a salad. 
  8. Use smaller plates if available. It will help you eat less at one time, ensure that you don’t eat too fast and may help you avoid going back for a second serving. 
  9. Enjoy desserts in small portions, especially if you want more than one (and who doesn’t?!). The host won’t mind if you cut something in half. Or, share a dessert with someone. 
  10. If you’re at a party or a buffet, try not to stand too close to the table. We tend to overindulge when the food is within reach. 

Bottom line … Go easy on yourself if you eat a little more than usual during this time of year. 

The adage about gaining 8-10 pounds during the holidays has been debunked. Having a few extra treats this time of year is not going to make or break your weight. 

So enjoy the foods you love in moderation, be mindful of your body’s cues and try to eat healthy when you’re not partying or celebrating. 

Find more healthy eating tips. 


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Featured Provider

Terri Duncan, RDN, LD picture

Terri Duncan, RDN, LD

Specialties: Nutrition

Terri Duncan is a clinical dietitian with Northside Hospital Nutrition Services.

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