Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

If you’re working hard to manage your weight, the holidays can be frustrating. The months of October through December can seem filled with one opportunity to overeat after another. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and let us have some of our favorite treats we normally avoid. You can relax your normal diet without going overboard. Here are 10 tips for healthy holiday eating.


Think it Through.


Before you go to that holiday office party or sit down to indulge with family and friends, visualize the gathering. What foods do you think might be there? Are there some good choices you can fill your plate with? What healthier dish can you bring to share?


Look up the average amount of calories in dishes you plan to eat. Also, know which foods are better choices over others. For example, if you love pecan pie but can settle for pumpkin, it usually has many less calories.


Are you hungry?


Also, analyze your feelings and if you are really hungry. We tend to overeat the most when our feelings are getting the best of us. Holiday stress, sadness or loneliness if we are missing someone who is no longer there to celebrate with us, and other difficult emotions can make us want to indulge when we may not even be hungry.


Focus on why you’re really there.


When we break away from focusing on eating, we appreciate even more why we are at the celebration. Good conversation, laughter, games and enjoying family and friends can help take your mind off the temptations.


Position yourself away from temptation.


Is it possible to stay away from those cookies just sitting there waiting for you to grab them? Are others mingling in the living room? Sometimes “out of sight, out of mind” is a great strategy to implement.


Slow down.


During the holidays, all the errands, cooking, shopping and traveling can tempt us to eat “on the go” often. However, we tend to overeat when we don’t really focus on our meal and what we are taking in. Sit down, turn off all the distractions like TVs or smartphones and enjoy slowly eating your meal.


Taking time to chew your food and put your utensil down between bites can also help you savor your favorite holiday dishes.


Beware of your portions.


Sometimes it isn’t so much what we eat that is a problem, but how much of it that we eat.  Instead of grazing in a buffet style fashion, portion out your meal and commit to not going back for seconds.


Choosing a smaller plate can also help if that is an option. The bigger the plate, the more empty it seems with small portions.


Fill up on fiber and high-protein dishes.


Fill your plate with high protein and fiber items such as lean meats, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Not only will these dishes be lower calorie than those savory desserts, but they will help you feel fuller longer. Also, eat these foods first to leave less room in your stomach for dishes that tend to make you want to overindulge.


You don’t have to clean your plate.


Many of us grew up with parents that made us feel guilty if we didn’t clean our plates. Although they meant well, this strategy can leave us with some unhealthy eating habits as adults. You not finishing your plate has nothing to do with gratitude or how much someone else gets to eat. In fact, some practice leaving a bite or two on their plate as a strategy to not overeat.


Avoid meal skipping.


Skipping meals is rarely a good strategy. We tend to overeat even more when we do this as our blood sugar is then not well regulated.


Keep moving.


It can be easy to get off a daily exercise routine during the holidays, but it is important to keep moving and burning calories. Break up your exercise into smaller segments. Even ten minutes is very beneficial.


Also, incorporate some activity during your gatherings. Taking a walk after dinner, dancing or throwing around a football with the kids are great ways to get some exercise and not miss out on the festivities.



We hope you find these tips for healthy holiday eating helpful. We also wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. If you need further assistance in your weight management journey,  we want to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can find out more information at You may also call Dr. Sawyer’s office at (580) 510-7042 to learn if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.



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