How to have fun and stay guilt free this holiday season.

By Sifa Tu

The Holiday season is here! During this time of year, it’s all about the parties, tasty food and beverages. However, all that indulging can have a downside: holiday weight gain. According to the journal of obesity the average person gains 1.7 pounds from Thanksgiving to the New Year. May not sound like much but the extra weight put on during the holidays isn’t lost during the following year and tends to pile on throughout the course of the year. Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid this trap. Try these simple tips and you can still eat, drink, and be merry without piling on the pounds.

Bring your own healthy food!
If you’re currently crushing your diet or you just don’t want to pack on the pounds during the holidays, then prepping your own healthy foods to bring to the party maybe just for you. This will keep you from being tempted due to limited amount of healthy food choices.

H20 is the way to go!
While rushing around shopping and preparing for guests, it’s easy to forget to drink plenty of water. Aim to get in at least eight glasses per day. Your body easily confuses being hungry and being thirsty, so drinking water regularly will keep you from eating when what you really need is to drink.

Eat Slowly!
A review of 22 studies that looked at eating speed and food intake published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014 concluded that eating slowly reduces calorie intake. The flavor and texture become more noticeable, so a smaller amount of food still seems satisfying.

Fiber up!
Eating plenty of veggies and some fruits in season will help keep you satiated longer due to the fiber and keep you from splurging on some not so healthy foods.

Stay Active!
We all know the tremendous amount of health benefits when it comes to physical activity. So, hike, run, lift, stretch, dance etc., anything that will keep you active!


  1. Clark, Michelle J., and Joanne L. Slavin. “The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition3 (2013): 200-211.
  2. Colman, Gregory J., and Dhaval M. Dave. Physical activity and health. No. w18858. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013.
  3. Díaz-Zavala, Rolando G., et al. “Effect of the Holiday Season on Weight Gain: A Narrative Review.” Journal of obesity 2017 (2017).
  4. Parretti, Helen M., et al. “Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT.” Obesity9 (2015): 1785-1791.
  5. Robinson, Eric, et al. “A systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of eating rate on energy intake and hunger.” The American journal of clinical nutrition(2014): ajcn-081745.

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

By Sheri Berger, RDN

These days pumpkin spice is definitely the trend in food, beverages, candles, lotion, body wash, etc. – you name it!  The pumpkin spice food and beverage fad can be not so nice for your waistline if it is consumed with more sugar than spice!  A dose of fresh or canned pumpkin is an incredible source of vitamins A, B, and C as well as a great source of fiber, copper, and potassium.  When pumpkin is prepared in a healthy way, it can be part of a tasty and figure friendly feast.  To stay on top of your healthy weight goals during this splendid time of the year, steer clear of the pumpkin spice muffins, cookies, and pie and give these pumpkin treats a try:

Make a pumpkin soup.  Here are some healthy and easy recipes:
Simple Pumpkin Soup
Mayo Clinic Healthy Pumpkin Soup
Roasted Pumpkin Apple Soup

Roast your pumpkin seeds!  Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids.  A handful of pumpkin seeds and a piece of fruit (produce and protein) make an excellent late afternoon snack. See here for some creative ways to spice up your pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Roast not only the seeds, but the pumpkin too.  Instructions here:
Roasted Pumpkin

Make it a healthy, energizing snack:
No Bake Pumpkin Bites

Make a homemade pumpkin spice latte.  Here is one of my favorite recipes (so much better than Starbucks):
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Make a pumpkin chili!  Here are some recipes:
Pumpkin Black Bean Chili 
Turkey Pumpkin Chili   
Pumpkin Chicken Chili     

Make a healthy pumpkin smoothie:
Pumpkin Oatmeal Shake 
Pumpkin Protein Smoothie (vegan)

Put it in your oatmeal!
Overnight Oats

I hope you find these tips helpful.  Have a great week!

Sheri Berger is a Registered Dietitian having completed her B.S. in Food/Nutrition & Dietetics and a dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago. Sheri has a diverse professional background that includes hospital and outpatient clinic support, preventative wellness programs, corporate wellness services, cardiovascular disease management, and working with seniors. Sheri enjoys engaging her clients in pursuit of their personal wellness goals and leading by example with her healthy lifestyle. Sheri has been certified in adult weight management since 2005. She belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, California Dietetics Association, and the San Jose Peninsula District of the CDA. Sheri enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two daughters and she loves to run marathons.

Healthier Holiday Recipe Alternatives

By Katrina Vinson

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and every year I try to find recipes that are healthier alternatives.

Gravy is an absolute must at most dinner tables so why not try a recipe that is lighter, delicious, AND vegetarian (a bonus for the non-meat eating relatives). Now mash potatoes are by far my absolute favorite but I really wanted to cut back on the starchy dishes this year. So a great alternative is mashed cauliflower.  Cauliflower is also low in carbs option and is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1 tsp. chopped sage
1 tsp. chopped rosemary
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2-3 c. vegetable stock


Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until
beginning to soften. Stir in mushrooms and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
Pour in 2 cups of vegetable stock and whisk to combine. Bring to simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the flavors have melded and the mixture has thickened
slightly. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add more vegetable stock.

Serve warm.

Mashed Cauliflower
2 medium heads cauliflower, florets removed
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. milk
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
Butter, for serving

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until tender, 10 minutes. Drain well, pressing with paper towels or a clean dish towel to remove as much excess water as possible.
2. Return to pot and mash cauliflower with a potato masher until smooth and no large chunks remain.
3. Stir in cream cheese and milk and season with salt and pepper and mash until completely combined and creamy. (Add a couple tablespoons more milk until you reach desired consistency.)
4. Garnish with chives, season with more pepper, and top with a pat of butter.

Funston, L. (2016). Mashed Cauliflower., recipes. Retrieved from cauliflower-
Miyashiro, L. (2016). Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy., recipes. Retrieved from gravy-recipe/

About the Author: 

Katrina received her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and is a CPT through the American College of Sports Medicine. Katrina worked as a personal trainer for several years while putting herself through college. In addition to her 16 years experience in the health club and fitness industry, Katrina has competed in several sports including basketball, track & field, softball, and soccer at the collegiate level.