Five tips for holiday eating

November 20, 2019 Swedish Nutrition Team

Find ways to keep those extra holiday pounds off your scale.

  • Plan ahead and choose your indulgences wisely.
  • Learn how to say no.
  • Make exercise a regular part of your routine.

[2 MIN READ]

Food is an integral part of the holiday season. Between feasting with family and friends, holiday parties, religious celebrations and office potluck lunches it’s all-too-easy to gain a few pounds before you even realize it’s happening.

Through the MyPlate program, the USDA recommends everyone eat a colorful plate of food (even at a holiday meal), full of fruits and vegetables with small portions of lean protein and whole grains. That can be easier said than done when you’re surrounded with unhealthy, but delicious, choices. Even with temptation all around you, it’s possible to enjoy the holidays without completely ignoring the basic principles of healthy eating. 

Even with temptation all around you, it’s possible to enjoy the holidays without completely ignoring the basic principles of healthy eating. 

Here are five tips to help you get through the upcoming holiday season without straining your willpower—or your waistband.

Plan ahead

Eat a small snack before heading out to the party to avoid arriving famished and anxious to eat most anything. Take healthy choices like fruit, salad or roasted vegetables as your entrée to share to ensure you’ll have at least one item on the menu that’s nutritionally sound. A little advance planning is often the key to successfully navigating the seasonal assault on your diet.

Choose wisely

Make your food choices count. Take a lap around the buffet line before loading your plate to be sure you leave plenty of room for your favorites. Start your meals with veggies and fruits to take the edge off your appetite before moving on to less healthy choices. Limit the fried foods you eat. Watch your portion size.

It’s ok to indulge a little bit

It’s ok to have a special holiday treat every now and then. If you look forward to your grandma’s pumpkin pie all year, by all means eat a slice. Just don’t eat the whole pie. Slow down, be conscious of what you’re eating and take the time to savor every bite. Total deprivation is rarely sustainable and never fun. You’ll have a much better chance at overall success if you allow yourself the occasional splurge.

Total deprivation is rarely sustainable and never fun. You’ll have a much better chance at overall success if you allow yourself the occasional splurge.

Keep moving

Don’t use the holidays’ busy schedule as an excuse to skip your regular walk or workout. In fact, if you add a little more activity to your standard regimen it will help burn off some of the extra calories you may be eating. If you don’t exercise regularly, try adding several short walks to your daily schedule. Even 10-30 minutes a day, a couple times a day, can make a difference.

Learn to say no

Just because someone offers you a second drink or an extra cookie doesn’t mean you have to take it. Practice saying no politely but firmly to keep yourself on track.

Find a doctor

The Swedish nutrition specialists can help you develop a healthy eating plan no matter what time of year it is. Find a doctor you can trust in our provider directory.

Working to give patients ways to #eathealthy during the holidays @swedish

Related resources

The benefits of a colorful plate and how to construct one

9 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain

How to host a healthy holiday

Healthy eating with Swedish: videos, tips, recipes and more

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Swedish nutrition team seeks to bring you expert advice and tips on how to fill your plate with the right nutrients to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible.

More Content by Swedish Nutrition Team
Previous Article
Fighting depression during the holiday season
Fighting depression during the holiday season

The holiday season can prompt sadness or depression in many people. These strategies from Swedish will help...

Next Article
Cold fighting super foods
Cold fighting super foods

Prepare for cold season by eating six foods that boost your body’s immune system and prevent coughs and colds.