Do you feel like the holiday season is a landslide of temptation and challenges? It definitely can feel like it with all the seasonal treats, social gatherings (maybe less so this year), and colder weather setting in. The gingerbread lattes, frappuccinos, mochas, hot chocolate, gin & tonic, and martinis can quickly add a lot of extra calories, and often without the exercise to offset it.  

Here are 10 tips for a healthier holiday season.   

  1. Eat Before You Party: Choose a small 100-200 calorie snack before you leave the house so you don’t arrive overly hungry. Focus on protein. Choose a handful of nuts, 2 oz of cheese, yogurt or even a protein shake to increase your satiety.
  2. Be Mindful While Baking: The little nibbles of your baked goods can add up. If your holiday season includes baking, be mindful of the amount of “tastes” you enjoy for a healthier holiday season.  
  3. Limit Alcohol: Besides the calories and sugar in alcohol, your inhibitions are also lowered and you are more likely to overindulge as a result. Alternate a drink with a glass of water to slow down your intake.
  4. Don’t Slash the Tires: Eat too much at a party? Grab one too many cookies in the office? If you had a “bad” meal, or bad day, don’t throw in the towel and give up. Wake up to a new day and start fresh.
  5. Don’t Diet: Traditional wisdom says the less we eat the less we’ll weigh. To the contrary, skipping meals and snacks can lead to weight gain when our body goes into starvation mode. Aim to eat every 2.5-3 hours throughout the day for a healthier holiday season.
  6. Socialize: Gathering with friends and family, virtually or in-person? Talk more and eat less! Ask questions. Stay engaged. A healthier holiday season includes a focus on our relationships. 
  7. Outsmart the Buffet: Go for the simplest foods. A carrot is just a carrot. Shrimp is just shrimp. Keep the toothpicks for the appetizers you’ve eaten in your pocket to keep track of how many you’ve eaten.
  8. Forget the Perfectionism: Follow the 80/20 Rule. Choose, in advance, where you are going to “spend” your calories and then stick to your plan. There are 28 meals in a week. Pick your “worth it” foods wisely for a healthier holiday season.
  9. Track It: Keeping a food diary is another way to remind yourself how your body responds to food. A healthier holiday season includes feeling energetic and well nourished. Notice which foods give you a boost and which ones cause a slump.
  10. Swap It: Do a little research and know what the better choices are. For example:
    • 1 cup eggnog = 305 calories/19 g fat vs. 1 cup cider = 140 cal/0 g fat
    • 3 oz peanut brittle = 414 cal/16 g fat vs. 1 candy cane = 60 cal/0 fat

Enjoy your holidays and everything they bring. These 10 tips for a healthier holiday season are to help you mindfully make swaps that match your goals. Pick one tip this season and practice it over and over.

Have a happy, and healthy, Holiday Season!