Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

by Jen on December 8, 2011

As you know, Christmas is fast approaching.  And with this, comes Christmas gatherings and parties.  And with these gatherings comes the temptation to eat treats and sometimes overindulge ourselves.

So, I thought it would be fitting to do a post about staying healthy this Christmas season.  Here are a few steps you can take to avoid overeating this holiday season:

1. My number one tip is to write down everything you are eating.  When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.  When you actually see the calories and fat you are ingesting, it makes a huge difference in your food choices.  When I first started my weight loss journey a few years ago, I started an online food journal.  There are many free websites that offer this tool: FitDay and My Fitness Pal are two of my favorites.


When you can actually see the calories and fat of that chocolate brownie you ate or that slice of cake you enjoyed, you start to think twice about your food choices.  During the holidays you are going to have a few treats here and there, but if you write them down, then you can try to compensate for them.  For example, if you eat a 200 calorie brownie, then take away 200 calories at your next meal.  While I don’t recommend doing this everyday, I think it helps on those few days that you do treat yourself.

2. My second tip is to keep on exercising.  Yes, I know the holidays are a busy time.  There is decorating, shopping, baking, travelling, get togethers, etc.  But these aren’t excuses to stop exercising.  Exercising will not only help keep off those extra pounds, but you’ll also have more energy to get you through your busy days.

3. My third tip is to get the junk food out of the house.  During the holiday, there tends to be extra junk food around, whether it’s your favorite cookies you’ve just baked, that box of chocolates you received from a co-worker, or that jar of candied nuts you get in your stocking every year.  Wanna know how I get the junk out of the house?  I give it away…or just throw it in the garbage!

Each year I like to bake my kid’s favorite cookies as well as Mark’s favorites.  However, after I bake them I a) freeze them in batches so that only a few are out at a time, and b) give some away to friends and family.  Another thing I don’t do is bake MY favorite cookies.  Why?  Because I don’t want the temptation.  If it isn’t in front of me, I won’t eat it!

4. My fourth tip is to eat before the party.  At Christmas parties, you know there is always going to be unhealthy food choices.  So, don’t go to the party on an empty stomach.  Eat a small snack before you go.  Some good snack choices are a handful of raw almonds with some raisins, a hard boiled egg, or a banana with some peanut butter.  Going to the party with something in your tummy will help you make better choices and stop you from overindulging.


Also, if I know that I’m going to a party in the evening, then I will eat perfect all day.  Meaning, I will eat only healthy foods during the day so that I can enjoy a treat at the party.  This way I know I’ve made good choices all day so it’s okay to have a little indulgence.

5. Speaking of parties, my fifth tip is to bring something healthy to the party.  Like I said, at most parties, the food choices are a little less than stellar.  So, if you have the option, offer to bring something healthy to the party.  Bring a plate of fresh cut veggies or some whole wheat pita chips with hummus.  This way, you know you’ll have at least one healthy choice!


6. My sixth tip is to choose your proportions wisely.  Many of the parties we go to are “all you can eat” buffets.  I see people walking back to their table with their plates piled high with food.  Do you eat that way at home?  I highly doubt it (and if you do…STOP!).  Eat the same proportions at the party that you would at home.  Your meat portion should be no bigger than the palm of your hand, your carbohydrate portion should be no bigger than a tennis ball, and your veggie portion can be as big as you like!

When it comes to the dessert, Mark and I like to share a dessert plate.  We will put a couple of things we both like on a small plate and then share it.  This way, you are not tempted to eat the whole plate of dessert.  I find that I just need one small bite to satisfy my craving.

7. My seventh and final tip is to enjoy the holiday season and don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.  So maybe you had an extra cookie or two.  But instead of saying, “oh well, I blew it already so I may as well just keep eating!” think to yourself, “it’s no big deal.  I can stop now and still feel good about myself.”  Maybe do an extra 20 minutes of cardio the next day to make up for it.

I usually allow myself one day during the holidays to indulge in my cravings.  And that day is Christmas day.  I’ll allow myself to eat chocolate and baking and dessert.  It’s okay.  It’s just one day.

I hope these tips can help you navigate your food choices a little easier this holiday season.  If you have a game plan, you’re more likely to end up with a satisfied tummy and a satisfied mind.  Trust me, the effort will be worth it.  And who knows, you may rub off on the rest of your family and become an inspiration to those around you to celebrate the holidays in a healthier way!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beth December 8, 2011 at 9:27 am


I will def be using these tips over the next month or so.


2 Jen December 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

You’re welcome 🙂


3 Lori@ Teacher Turned Mommy December 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

great tips.


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