Holiday Tips

Nov 08, 2018

Holiday Tips

How many stops do you make during your holiday travels? And at each stop is there a table full of foods you just can’t resist? Well trust me, you are not alone.  

Planning ahead puts you at an advantage when it comes to surviving holiday meals, parties and family gatherings.  

Your plan should always start with breakfast. Do not skip breakfast — or any meals for that matter — thinking you’ll “save up” the calories to spend on the holiday buffet. By skipping a meal you’ll be hungry longer, and you are opening yourself up for snacking or binge eating.

When you do sit down to eat, keep in mind that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that you are full. That is why it is so important to take small bites and chew your food slowly

Focus on portion control and not depriving yourself of the foods you want. Take a minute to assess all of your food options.  If there are foods that you want to try, then try them. A small spoonful will provide you with the taste you desire.

Choose the protein and vegetables first. Protein, such as turkey and chicken, plus your vegetables, like green beans, carrots and broccoli, will make you feel more satisfied. Be aware, though, of sauces, glazes and seasonings. For example, cooked carrots are great; but cooked carrots in a brown sugar glaze are not so much!

When it is time for dessert, ask yourself if you are really hungry or if your mind is just hungry for the sweet stuff. If the answer is no, you are not hungry, then remind yourself of your weight management goals. If you do decide to sample, a small portion may satisfy your craving.

If you eat and feel satisfied don’t “wait awhile” until food digests and go back for more a mere hour later.  These are additional calories for your day. It may be more behavior than physical; we are not made to eat every hour or all day.

Other ideas to try as you prepare for the holidays

If you are preparing a dish, sneak in healthier ingredients such as applesauce, sugar substitute or pumpkin (which is high in fiber and perfect for holiday recipes). Do some research ahead of time to see what you can replace in your recipe or get suggestions for a low-carb side dish? Websites such as,, and, offer recommendations for healthier food options and provide the nutritional breakdown.

Instead of napping on the couch, take a walk after you eat.  If the weather isn’t cooperating, then consider playing games. This will set a great example for the younger generation and maybe start a new tradition for future holiday get-togethers.

 Here are a few tips for surviving a holiday party with a buffet of snacks:

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Never arrive hungry. Have a healthy snack beforehand or when you get there and drink a glass of water.

Focus on the company and not on the food. Take this opportunity to catch up with guests and keep yourself busy.

Eat mindfully by taking smaller bites and chewing slowly. This will give your brain time to fully enjoy these special holiday foods as well as recognize when your stomach is full.

Limit your alcohol, which is high in calories. Also, too much alcohol can impact your ability to think clearly when it comes to making food choices.

Bring your own healthy dish. This gives you a food option and the chance to share with your friends.

When you are cooking, limit your taste-testing. Many times we snack while cooking and then eat with everyone else. This could equal a double serving, so keep it to a minimum. 

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