Quick, Bite-Size Tips to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season


The holiday season is so busy. You run around buying presents, attending parties, and visiting family and friends. But the end of the year is not a great time to let your diet slip. The problem with holding on to those holiday pounds is it adds up year after year.

Betsy Oriolo, MS, RD, LD, CDE a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center says, “Most of us will gain some amount of weight over the holidays. While some people can lose it once the new year starts, some of us have a harder time.”

You also don’t want the stress of the holidays to get the best of you, so you want to make sure you are fueling your body properly, by not filling it with sweets and heavy carbohydrates. Studies show that an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for developing depression and can cause less sleep as well as less productivity.

Healthy Tips for a Big Family Meal

“My motto has always been to remember the second or third bite does not taste any different than the first,” says Betsy.

When you are sitting down for a big family meal, such as Thanksgiving, remember to eat a small, healthy snack before you head out the door.

When you arrive at the dinner, make sure you drink plenty of water before you sit down for the meal. Then, start with a salad and non-starchy vegetables. If you are tempted to reach for sweets or starches, limit your portion size. You don’t want to deprive yourself, but don’t overdo it either.

Healthy Tips for a Holiday Party

To survive a holiday cocktail party, it is important to have a game plan. When you arrive at the party, survey your options for food and drinks. Take your time walking around the party to see the offerings before you decide which treats you want to spend your calories on. You can also bring a healthy side dish that you feel is safe for your diet. Try to fill your plate only once and eat slowly to minimize your total intake at your event.

“Go for items that aren’t available to you regularly,” suggests Betsy. “Limit the number of times you go back to the table for more food.”

Don’t forget that alcohol contains a lot of calories, and so do the mixers. If you have a drink, stick with calorie-free mixers like diet cola or tonic water.

Don’t Dwell on Your Dieting Mistakes

It can happen—you ate your way through the party. It is important that you don’t stay mad at yourself or feel guilty if you overindulged.

Betsy suggests, “Get right back on your healthy eating plan as soon as possible. There’s no need to be more restrictive the next day or exercise more because that could lead to the vicious cycle of feeling guilty and trying to take make up for it.”

Remember to be mindful of your eating, watch your portion sizes and remember that eating healthy is about feeling better. Are you interested in keeping your weight-loss goals on track? Talk to your primary care physician or schedule an appointment at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center by calling (859) 212-4625. You can also watch our free medical weight management seminar online.