4 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Weights and oranges on a wooden table to stay healthy

Created by: By: Molly McBride, RD, LD

Kroger Corporate Dietitian

It’s that time of year when we all prepare some “wiggle room” for weight gain and delicious holiday goodies. What if we looked at the holiday season a little differently? We can indulge yet not overeat! Let’s enjoy the flavors of the season without sacrifice.

  1. Load up on the light fare. There may be a large spread of food available when sitting down to dinner with family or at big gatherings. Consider piling your plate or glass high with lower calorie and lower fat items. You can limit calories in sweet beverages by adding extra ice, have an extra sweet potato rather than a mound of stuffing, add extra fruit atop your piece of pie rather than cream, or scoop up more gelatin (or pectin-based gelled dessert) rather than rich brownies after the meal.
  2. Only eat half. It’s never fun to waste food, but it’s also disheartening to unintentionally eat more than you wanted to. You can have the best of both worlds by grabbing a full plate and appear to be “working on it” for up to two hours (for food safety reasons) but throw half in a to-go box for the fridge.
  3. Try not to start the party on an empty stomach. Do you know that feeling? It can be hard to have self-control if you’re ravaged and looking to eat anything in sight when heading to a fun time with friends and family. Consider eating something sustainable before leaving home, like a peanut butter sandwich, trail mix or even a latte made with decaf espresso, nonfat milk/non-dairy milk and sprinkled with cinnamon. All of these foods contain fiber, protein and carbohydrates to keep you full a little longer.
  4. Plan, plan, plan. We can revert to bad habits when we’re short on time, energy and resources. Thinking ahead to how you want your week or day to look in terms of favorite holiday meals and desserts can set you up for success. If you’re looking forward to grabbing that eggnog at the store, let yourself enjoy it, but allot space in your week for turning to low calorie beverages like unsweetened tea or light lemonade on other days. Another good strategy during the holiday season is meal planning for appropriate number of people, whether that be ten or one, so there are not a lot of leftovers you may feel pressured to eat!