Tips for Staying on Track through the Holiday Season

By Elizabeth Wolfe, M.S., RDN

With Thanksgiving just behind us and the “holiday season” right around the corner, you might be thinking of putting your healthy eating habits on hold until the New Year. It’s easy to give ourselves that excuse, but an important thing to remember is that a single day of overindulgence, isn’t going to ruin many days of healthy eating but many days of unhealthy eating will have lasting effects.

So, commit to making smart choices and eating healthy as a lifestyle. Allow yourself the occasional indulgence without letting it become the “norm”. Here are some ideas to help you stay on track through the holidays:

  1. Stay active by committing to a regular routine of exercise instead of putting that off until the New Year. Starting off the day with some sort of exercise often makes us feel more motivated to stay on track throughout the day. If you are traveling, don’t forget your walking shoes!
  2. Knock out the hunger pangs prior to a social gathering. Consider having a light snack like carrots and hummus or apple and peanut butter an hour beforehand so that you don’t arrive ravenous and gravitate toward the high calorie treats.
  3. Be choosy. If you are at a buffet, scan the table before you enter the line. Choose small servings of the foods you want.
  4. Generally, you should always fill your plate half full with vegetables and fruits, with the remaining half split between protein and a grain/starch. Buffets are no exception, so keep that in mind when you are fixing your plate.
  5. Bring something to the party. Offer to bring an appetizer, side, or dessert. Not only will the host or hostess appreciate the help, but you can also select something both delicious and healthy.
  6. Watch the liquid calories. For some, a holiday party is not complete without traditional drinks and cocktails. Beware that these drinks often contain a large number of calories.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing

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