How to {Healthfully} Navigate the Holiday Feast


The holidays are here!!! Did you know the average person gains between 8-10lbs over the holidays? That’s 100lbs over 10 years– yikes!!! It is so easy to put on a few LBs with all the delicious comfort food and big fluffy jackets that cover up so much that you forget what your own body looks like, amiright? However, the holidays don’t HAVE to result in unwanted weight gain. It is so important to be aware and {mentally} prepared going into the holiday season. As a Registered Dietitian I feel it is my duty to share some tips on the subject… so here it goes!!

1. Don’t “save” your calories

I heard a doctor say that will power is the result of blood sugar. Y’all, this is SO TRUE!! When I haven’t eaten and my blood sugar drops, all will power and logical thinking are out the window and I’m going for whatever I can get my hands on. In other words, don’t show up to the party hungry. Many people, I am guilty of this too, try and save up calories so they can indulge at the holiday feast, and will skip a few meals leading up to the celebration. This is dangerous! I don’t know about you, but I get hangry {the act of becoming angry when you’re hungry}, and when I reach that point my eyes are WAY bigger than my stomach. I end up over serving myself and I eat so fast I don’t even realize that I didn’t actually need all that food.  So be sure to have a snack before you go to the feast to help manager your hangry desires!

2. Portion size, portion size, portion size

I work with people every day on how to manage their disease state, weight, overall health, lab values and blood sugars through nutrition, and have learned a few things in the process. I never ask people to completely eliminate things from their diet {unless medically necessary}, because it typically results in a rebound to old habits, especially when just getting started. With that being said, I DO strongly encourage people to evaluate the AMOUNT of what they are eating and drinking. So yes, have some of granny’s famous pecan pie! Just don’t have a huge slice with 2 scoops of ice cream and cover it with whipped cream. A small slice is sufficient ;). Don’t forget portion sizes apply to drinks too– just have 1 {maybe 2} glasses of sweet tea or wine and then switch to WATER!!

3. Give yourself time

I get it. I’m from a big family and when we all get together for a holiday meal I’m concerned whether or not there is enough food to go around. Especially when all the guy cousins walk in and they can all bench press you with one hand. Basically, don’t rush through the meal! Get your {mindfully portioned} plate and enjoy. Don’t rush back for dessert as soon as you lick the last drop of gravy from your fork. Allow your body time to realize how much you just consumed and that may help you realize you don’t actually need to go back for seconds {or thirds :p}. This will help you make better decisions at the dessert table too!

4. Bring the healthy

Typically, everyone brings a dish or two to the holiday feast and hidden calories are everywhere— gravies, sauces, casseroles, even the vegetable casseroles {gasp!}. Yes, even something with vegetables can be high in calories and fat. So, why don’t you be the one to bring the healthy?! Just because it’s healthy {or healthier} doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. This way you, and your friends and family, have good, nutritious options. Get creative! Here are two “carb-swap” recipes that would be perfect for the holidays…. my low-carb thanksgiving dinner with recipes including cauliflower “mashed potatoes” {here} and for dessert some flour-less chocolate chip cookie bars {here} that will have people thinking they’re the real thing!!

5. Be active

The holidays are a time to be with family, laugh and make new memories while you reminisce on old ones! Make sure to be active in the process! That doesn’t mean you need to wake up at 5am and workout for 2 hours. You can simply get outside and throw the ball with your siblings, cousins, nieces/nephews, or even taking a stroll with your grandparents. Whatever it is, just have fun and get moving!!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow so here is a picture of me dressed up like a pilgrim!IMG_4608.JPGHappy holidays, y’all!!

<3 Norma {MS, RD, CDN}

4 thoughts on “How to {Healthfully} Navigate the Holiday Feast

  1. Thank you so much for these tips to help keep my holidays a happy time! I love them all but especially #4! This way I know I will have a healthy option and plus you can’t show up empty handed! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. You’re right, Janie! You can’t show up empty handed, so why not bring the healthy! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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