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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.

10 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

It's about that time of year again... Everywhere you turn there are sweets and treats tempting you. But do not surrender! Recognize these challenges and arm yourself with these healthy holiday tips, it should not be the fight of your life just getting through to January!


It's about that time of year again... Everywhere you turn sweets and treats next to the checkout register, in the break room and on desks at work, and on every end table and countertop at every home you visit. Even when not having sweet temptations waved under your nose, you are rushing around with the shopping and errands and preparations and probably not taking the time you need to get a proper meal. And during the holiday season, big, abundant, sit-down dinners are likely to make their way into the schedule...

With all that to contend with, many people find the holiday appeal too much to bear and simply give up on healthy eating altogether during the holidays. But do not surrender! If you recognize doing such challenges will be there and arm yourself accordingly with these healthy holiday tips, it should not be the fight of your life just getting through to January!

10 Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

1. Be Realistic
Most nutrition and health experts encourage individuals to maintain weight during the holidays, rather than trying to diet. Don't try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

2. Get Enough Sleep
Even through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, make it a point to get enough sleep. Not only does sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours each night enhances concentration, mood, and energy, but regulate hunger hormones to keep appetite at ease.

3. Focus Less On Food
Food is no doubt a centerpiece of holiday celebrations. But instead of always focusing attention on food, try a non-food activity this holiday season. For instance, rather than making dozens of Christmas cookies, decorate the tree with handmade ornaments, play games with friends and family members, or go on a walk and look at festive lights.

4. Eat for Satisfaction
Rather than downing food until more stuffed than the Thanksgiving turkey, eat until satisfied. Also try avoiding the dessert table until properly satisfying hunger with nourishing foods to lessen the risk of overindulging.

5. Don't Skip Meals
Rather than trying to skip meals and save on calories on days with holiday celebrations, feed the body with nutritious foods and satisfy hunger. Holding out until the event can increase the risk of ravening on a copious amount of unhealthy foods, so consume well-balanced breakfasts, lunches, and snacks can to keep hunger levels at bay.

6. Plate Appropriately
Though favorite foods can still be enjoyed during the holidays, the practice of appropriate plating should not be thrown out the window. Continue plating a balanced plate, including half the plate with veggies, a quarter with a lean protein, and paired with a healthy fat and starch. Doing so can keep portions and calories naturally in check, along with calming hunger. Sticking to healthier and smaller servings of food allows you to relish on your favorite desserts without great guilt.

7. Eat Slowly
Eat slowly and truly savor the flavors of your holiday favorites, as doing so can satisfy hunger and cravings while lessening the risk of eating. So chew slowly, savor each bite, put the fork down between each bite, sip on water, and truly question seconds after allowing at least 20 minutes for your body and mind to link the "I'm full" feeling.

8. Set Up Buffet-Style
Especially if hosting a holiday party, set up the food buffet-style rather than putting it all on the dining table. Ultimately, placing food not in arm's reach is a valuable strategy to lessen the risk of second helpings and overeating.

9. Watch Out for Liquid Calories
It is important to be watch out for liquid calories, as they can add up quickly! If you do choose to wine or other alcoholic beverage, stick to one to two servings and be cautious of the calories in mixers. Water is always the best decision when it comes to quenching your thirst, as staying hydrated can minimize hunger levels while supporting digestion and overall health. Throughout the holidays and entire year, aim for at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily.

10. Practice Healthy Cooking
Especially if hosting that Thanksgiving feast, healthify your recipes by reducing the amount of fat, sugar, and salt in recipes and use whole foods when possible. Even if asked to bring a sole side dish or dessert, take the opportunity to create a more nutritious item to contribute. And you never know, other guests may be trying to have a healthier holiday and appreciate the healthier dish to choose from!

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on May 10, 2019.


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