10 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

‘Tis the Season…to overindulge.

  There are a few people who can keep their homes stocked with holiday favorites and NOT overindulge, but I know when I am over stressed, over hungry or over tired, I am likely to have a little treat feast.  Here are “10 healthy tips or healthy holiday eating” to help us all out!

1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day.  Consider entering a challenge group or picking up a program like 10- minute trainer!

3. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge, and ALWAYS start your day with a nutrition breakfast like oatmeal or Shakeology.

4. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. I like to fill at least half of my plate with vegetables and fruits .

5. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.  Aim for 20-30 chews for each mouth full!!!

6. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.  ADD more water – to start your day, 30 minutes before meals… aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day to help you feel more full!

7. If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from sweet treat so if you add somewhere, just remember to cut somewhere else!

8. Take the focus OFF food. Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.  Instead of candy in the advent calendar, put notes good for special family games or activities.

9. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.  I love to bring a lower calorie salad or entree so I have a choice I can enjoy – plus it helps others out too!  If you don’t have a choice you are probably going to just eat what is there!

10. Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.

  • Gravy — put the juices in gravy separator or a glass jar to rest.  When separated, either pour out the stock from the separator to make gravy or suck the oil off with a baster.
  • Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  • Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and maybe just a little bit of leg 🙂
  • Green Bean Casserole — opt for stirfrying beans with some garlic and a touch of oil! or consider roasting some of your favorite veggies instead.
  • Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.  If you need the real thing, just cut back on your serving size!
  • Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
  • Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.  At Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin pudding with canned pumpkin, vanilla pudding mix and some pumpkin pie spice!

Enjoy the holidays, plan a time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you.  Which of these 10 healthy tips for healthy holiday eating do you think will work for you?

Make a plan and work the plan, don’t leave your health up to chance!  Consider adding Shakeology to your day as it will help you curb cravings, add natural energy and just plain make you feel better!

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