Health Tips for Holiday Eating

Why do you struggle with weight gain though the holidays? Take time now to think about your challenges and create new approaches for this holiday season.

It's that time of year again. The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time, but as it turns out, it tends to be the most stressful for many.

I've got some nutritional tips to keep in mind for the upcoming holidays as well as the New Year.  I know it may seem a little early for 'holiday' talk, but seriously, the average weight gain from Halloween to the New Year is 5-6 pounds. Do you really want to be part of that statistic? Eating properly is a great way to avoid holiday weight gain and combat stress.

Why do you struggle with weight gain though the holidays? Many challenges exist, such as office potlucks, family gatherings, once-a-year treats, and traditions of over-eating. Take time now to think about your challenges and create new approaches for this holiday season. Here are the 10 best tips to beat holiday weight gain.

10. Try to decrease stress during the holidays.

The holiday season can be very overwhelming. Hormones released during stressful situations can raise your blood glucose levels and add more weight from emotional eating.

9. Prioritize exercise.

Exercise in the morning so you start your day energized with a clear mind. Exercise gives you the mental reminder that you are living a healthy lifestyle, which keeps you on track and focused during the day. Can't swing a morning workout? Plan a lunch-hour workout with colleagues or buddy. Build exercise into your day; schedule it as you would any other commitment. Hire a personal trainer; they will hold you accountable.

8. Smaller plate, shrink the portions.

If you use a large plate you will overfill it because the empty space makes most people feel like they do not have enough food. Using a smaller plate makes you prioritize what food you really want instead of fitting some of everything. Also, it limits how large your portion size can be.

7. Plan ahead.

Understand what food challenges you are facing so that you can make informed decisions. Call friends to see what healthy side dish you can bring to the dinner party. Look up restaurant information before going out to eat. Know when you need to pack a lunch or bring a healthy option to the office potluck.

6. Indulge with full awareness.

If you decide to indulge, do so consciously; make that tasty treat a part of a planned meal or snack. Then you can savor each and every bite.

5. Honor your body's healthy limits.

Honor your body by committing to NOT overeat. Commit to filling your plate full of colorful veggies and cutting back portions of high calorie sides, such as stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes.

When loading up your plate start with the veggies. The water and fiber content in most vegetables will help you feel fuller leaving less room and desire for desserts and fatty dishes.

4. Eat breakfast every day.

Include a bit of protein at this important meal. Start the day with protein rich foods to control your appetite and boost self-control. This will help you to "just say no" to all of the holiday treats that surround you.

3. Don't let holiday weight gain creep up on you.

Weigh yourself once a week and make adjustments to your lifestyle as needed. If you gain a pound, reflect on your eating and exercise habits. Be curious not critical. Look for opportunities to make changes. Have you been stressed? Are you an emotional eater? Have been to more parties and social engagements? Eating out more often? These are factors that everyone faces more frequently this time of year, and they often lead to weight gain.

2. Keep alcohol consumption low and drink more water.

How easily alcohol calories add up. During this social holiday season, you could easily gain a pound or two through alcohol alone. A great way to limit the number of empty-calories from alcohol is to drink more water.  Water fills you up and is great for your digestive system.

  • Pint of beer = 150 calories
  • Typical glass of wine = 200 calories
  • Martini = 250 calories
  • Margarita = 300-800 calories depending on who makes it!
  • Spiked eggnog = 400 calories per cup


1. Get off the "See Food Diet"!

We see it, we want to eat it. This time of year, the "See Food Diet" consists of cookies, pastries, candies and fudge. Not too mention all of the leftovers, gifts and party favors. Change what you see, and you will change your body.

Surround yourself with the healthy foods that you need to eat, and you will find it easier to maintain your weight--or even lose weight--during this holiday season.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michelle McIntyre December 22, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Decreasing stress is the best advice in your article. If someone can learn to relax and get enough sleep he/she can be a lot healthier. I enjoy doing a lot of exercise during Christmas vacation and plan to do double on the big holiday eating days. Thanks for the informative post! I'd rather see this than the latest cookie recipe.
Rashein Lindsey December 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Your more then welcome Michelle, and thank you so much for your comment. Also I can't agree with you more, severe stress and sleep deprivation have similar effects on the immune system. Studies had found a link between lack of sleep, stress, and lack of exercise can cause certain diseases and conditions, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and obesity.


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