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Seasonal Diet Tips

Explore our expert knowledge on topics such as healthy eating during the holidays, and how to live into a happier and healthier you in the New Year. Discover tips and tricks on how to avoid weight gain at holiday parties and while on vacation.

Healthy Holiday Eating: Enjoy the Holidays without the Extra Weight

The average person gains a little over a pound each holiday season. While the number doesn't seem like much, it's often kept and accumulates over time. Sustain your goals with these holiday healthy eating tips!


Did you know the average person gains a little over a pound each holiday season? While the number may seem unsubstantial, the weight is often kept on and raises the risk of further accumulation. Not only does this spark worry for other health concerns later down the road, but can diverge all the effort you have made on your weight loss journey thus far.

How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays

Start with Breakfast
Throughout the year and holidays, healthy eating starts with breakfast! And while not all are morning eaters, there is much truth on why breakfast became touted as the most important meal of the day. Consuming a protein and fiber-filled breakfast can heighten energy levels to kick start the morning and motivation to make healthy choices throughout the day. Eating breakfast also lessens and voids hunger, ultimately reducing your risk of overeating on high-calorie snacks and meals later on. Along with these high-protein breakfast recipes, relish on the holiday flavors of cinnamon apple pancakes and stuffed French toast with berry compote.

Eat Prior to the Party
While it does seem logical to save calories by dismissing meals throughout the day, showing up to the party completely ravenous can be destructive to your health goals. Eating a nutritious snack prior to the party can weaken domineering feelings of hunger and lessen the risk of overindulging on high-calorie foods.

Offer A Leaner Menu
Most holiday parties are known for their decadent, luscious, and oftentimes high-calorie foods. However, it is important to remember healthy foods do not mean bland or dull, as dishes can still offer rich flavors without supplying hundreds of calories. Offer a leaner menu to your guests, including these healthy holiday recipes provided by the Food Network. And if you not hosting, offer to bring a couple of healthier dishes using more nutritious and wholesome ingredients.

Be Choosy
With a smorgasbord food, you may feel tempted and obligated to plate it all. But be choosy on which foods you truly want during a holiday party, aiming to dismiss commonly available chips and dips and going for the lavish stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and crab cakes.

Keep Portions in Check
Also during the holiday season, the volume of portions has dramatically increased over decades. To keep naturally keep portions and calories in check, use smaller plates when available, color half the plate with veggies, and complement with a lean protein source.

Wait It Out
Yes, that plating of food may have been appetizing and yes, you may be enticed for a second round. However, wait at least 10 minutes before heading to the buffet again and if you still feel hungry, be mindful of portions and continue sticking to more nutritious foods.

Eat Mindfully
While it may be tempting to scarf down tasty holiday foods, practice the concept of mindful eating. Appreciate the smells and flavors rather than quickly scarfing them down to naturally keep portion sizes balanced and cultivate a healthy relationship with food. And when consuming meals at holiday parties or at home, recognize sensations and feelings you experience.

Sip On Water
While a drink or two can certainly be enjoyed during a holiday celebration, water should absolutely be included in the mix. Not only does swapping out soda with water reduce sugar and calorie intake, but can help keep meals balanced by lessening the desire for seconds, larger portions, and ultimately, overeating.

Enjoy the Company
Although food is often a centerpiece of a party, do not forget the primary reason of this holiday season... The company! Use the time to catch up with family members, friends, neighbors, etc. Not only does it distract away from the food table, but builds memories you tend to remember more than that tempting sweet potato pie...

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on May 10, 2019.


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