Healthy Holiday Eating

Hey there, Mamas! I’ve been hearing the phrase “maintain – don’t gain” so much this time of year. Essentially, it’s encouraging people to be moderate with their food and beverage choices throughout the holiday season, so as not to kick oneself when the first of the year arrives. But with different events EVERY weekend, plus the work functions during the week, HOW exactly is one supposed to fulfill this mantra?

A holiday feast can be loaded with extra calories, so choose your food wisely.

A holiday feast can be loaded with extra calories, so choose your food wisely.

Fear not, Mamas! Use these 5 tips to minimize (or eliminate) holiday weight gain and avoid digging a(n even deeper) hole you’ll have to dig out of come January 1st.

Pile on the Veggies

Veggies are a weight loss dream-come-true! They are very filling and add few calories. Vegetables might not be exactly what you picture when envisioning your typical holiday meal. But on the other hand, most holiday dinners aren’t complete without a festive veggie tray, salad, or, at least, green bean casserole. By loading your plate half-full with vegetables, you are ensuring that you’ll get a nutritious punch, without the caloric damage to your waistline. Plus, the fiber found in yummy vegetables can help you to feel fuller faster and longer – which can keep you running back for seconds.

RDN Mama’s Tips for a Healthy “See-Food” Diet

Make a Choice

Prioritization is a huge part of a healthy holiday plate. It can be especially important for desserts. Choose one serving of a treat you love and enjoy every bite! How would you feel if you missed a special, family-recipe, once-a-year treat? Probably just that – like you missed out. But the prepackaged pies, cakes, and cookies you can get any other day of the year? Just look the other way. You’ll feel much better about yourself the next morning.

Try the same trick with starchy foods. Do you really need sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a roll? Choose one or two items you’ll really enjoy and leave the rest behind.

RDN Mama’s Treats vs. Snacks: What’s the Difference?

Downsize Your Drinks ID-100382464

Eggnog, apple cider, cocktails – oh my! Whether you choose to limit the size or number of calorie-laden drinks, it can make a huge difference in your waistline. Caloric beverages are interesting because your body doesn’t recognize them the same ways as calories from foods. It’s far easier to go overboard when indulging with liquids. Keep in mind nutritional ramifications, as well: eggnog is loaded with saturated fat and apple cider and cocktails have loads of empty calories from sugary mixers.

Alcohol is a double-whammy for weight gain during the holidays. Not only does it add unnecessary calories into an already overfull tummy, but it can also lower your inhibitions, making those second helpings of dessert, or handfuls of chips and dip so much harder to resist. With functions so frequent this time of year, those extra calories can add up fast! If you do choose to imbibe, try a non-caloric drink (ideally water) between each cocktail to stay hydrated and fill your stomach.

RDN Mama’s The Truth about Juice

Forego the Finger Food

While they might seem like a tasty way to pass the time before or after a meal, munching mindlessly on these (typically) less-healthy foods is a sure way to tip the scale. If you do choose to snack a bit, be smart about it! Choose lower-calorie foods, like veggies and hummus or shrimp cocktail. Be sure to put whatever you’re eating on a plate – don’t just pick at the smorgasbord as the night dwindles on. This trick actually helps your brain to process how much you’re eating, so you feel full at an appropriate time.  Better yet, spend time catching up with family and friends out of the kitchen – and away from the snacks!

RDN Mama’s When “Kid-Friendly” Food Might Not Be

Maximize Your Metabolism

Planning to skip breakfast to “save room” for your big meal later? You could actually be slowing your metabolism, since breakfast gets your body going in the morning. Also, make an effort to get moving – especially on days you’re likely to overindulge. A workout revs your metabolism so you’re burning more calories throughout the day. Better yet, get the whole family involved and make it a new tradition!


Don’t think your event will offer anything remotely healthy? Use this opportunity to try out your own nutritious recipe! You’ll thank yourself when the new year rolls around.

What tricks do you use to keep holiday weight gain at bay?


Photo Credits: Christmas Baked Duck Served With Potatoes, Orange And Tomatoes by Serge Bertasius Photography & Decoration For Christmas Event by Geerati; both obtained from

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