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Nutrition Tips for the Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, family gatherings, celebrations, and of course, LOTS of great food!

With all of the festivities, many of us find ourselves throwing our hands up in the air and taking the all-or-nothing approach. Before you know it, everything you have worked SO hard for over the last several weeks or months, is down the drain. Well, I am here to tell you that even you can still reach those goals, regardless of the time of year.

Let’s face it; we are going to enjoy the festive parties, great company, and delicious food. I don’t think it would be realistic to ask anyone not to participate in any of these. But, all of the parties don’t have to revolve around the cheese ball, creamy dips, and sugar cookies.

You have to make choices. I am not saying you have to for-go all your favorites, but if you follow a few of my tips, you may find yourself ahead of the game come the New Year. So, whether you are hosting a party or just joining one, here are a few strategies to keep you healthy and fit through the season.:

1) Plate it Out

Before putting it in your mouth, put it on a plate. All those little hors’devours can quickly add up. Placing your food on a plate will allow you see what and how much you are eating. Enjoy what you chose and limit your second and third helpings. Also, to avoid the additional servings, fill that plate up with fresh fruits and vegetables. These are full of fiber and water and will keep you satiated and satisfied.

2) Think Ahead

Don’t go to a party hungry. Small meals and snacks throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable and prevent over-doing it at the party. Try a healthy snack an hour or two before the event. Here are a few quick and filling snack ideas that are all around 200 calories:

• 3/4 cup nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese, 1 cup of mixed fruit
• 2-3 ounces of low sodium turkey breast, 1 medium sliced apple
• 1 cup of nonfat greek yogurt, 1 cup of sliced fruit
• ¼ cup of hummus, handful of baby carrots, 1 sliced red/orange/yellow pepper.
• ½ cup of edamame shelled (1 cup shelled), ½ cup of steamed shrimp

3) Stick to the Basics

Too much alcohol can have a huge affect on your weight, mood, sleep, hydration levels, focus, etc. Try avoiding the fancy holiday cocktails and go for the basics – champagne, wine, light beer, and liquor mixed with non-caloric beverage (club soda, diet tonic, diet soda). Also, start the party with water or club soda with lime and alternate between alcoholic beverages. This will reduce the amount of alcohol and calories AND keep you hydrated.

4) Make a Commitment

Would you rather have a serving of the delicious cheesy casserole at dinner or a slice of the chocolate cake for dessert? Choose one, not both.

5) Don’t Make it ALL About the Food

The holidays are not just about the food, they are also about the people you share it with. Take some time to savor the company and conversation.

6) Keep that Routine

Exercise can be the first thing to go by the waste-side when we get busy. Keep your exercise routine as close to normal as possible. This will help keep you focused (and maybe burn off the extra calories) through the holidays. If you can’t get to the gym, here is a quick routine that can get the job done almost anywhere. For some extra fun, have a family member or two join in on the fun!

Instructions: Complete the following exercises for 30 seconds each. Rest 60-90 seconds in between each exercise and repeat 2-3 times depending on fitness level.

-60 seconds: Jumping jacks
-60 seconds: Jogging in place

1) Squats
2) Push-ups
3) Alternating lunges
4) Plank on elbows for 30 seconds
5) Burpies
6) Plank on hands

Happy Holidays!


  • Hank says:

    Now I know why my wife always places the hors d'oeuvres in a plate and shuns those passed around. Eating a light meal or snack before a big event also makes sense. Overall, sound advice that will definitely help.

  • Mary says:

    I find that starting off with club soda and lime helps to curb your appetite. Alcohol tends to let down your guard causing you to consume more than intended. Alternating alcoholic beverages with water or club soda really works; you drink less and have more energy throughout the evening. I am looking forward to trying your holiday workout. It is always good to have a workout program you can do in a pinch when time is limited. When pressed for time, I have been doing Marc's 20 minute workout, which I love. Thank you for all the great information.

  • BeckyMinx says:

    marshmellows and ice cream all day err day

  • Mary says:

    I wanted to do the exercise routine Christy recommended, but I do not know how to do Burpies. What is it?

  • Mary says:

    Thank you Marc, I tried the burpie with the pushup, and it is definitely too challenging for me. I will stick with a partial burpie. Thank you for the video demonstration.

  • Peggy says:

    Another way to not over-eat at Thanksgiving? Eat at the home of runners. Their sideboard had just enough of each dish to fill the plates of guests once, but not quite enough for anyone to have a full plate of seconds. The entire menu consisted of freshly-baked turkey and vegetarian dressing, fresh cranberry chutney, one tossed salad loaded with goodies, and only one type of carb -- whipped sweet potatoes, minimally sweetened, made with non-fat milk and saltless butter. Lots of water with twists of lemon for everyone and all the carrots and hummus you could eat during cocktails, plus a single glass of wine to enjoy either before or during dinner. There were dinner rolls on the side board, but also a bit of dinner-roll shaming if you were caught putting one on your plate. Happily at least, there was pumpkin pie for dessert -- but it was served with non-fat, non-dairy topping. No one went away hungry, but all went away happy. [Although, unbeknownst to their hosts, after the feast ended a few lesser mortals may have tracked down an eatery late in the evening to devour some cheesecake and champagne.]