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30 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips Help Overcome Seasonal Challenges

Party, party, party and more parties. ‘Tis the season for family gatherings and social holiday eating events. From November through the first of the year we all strive to eat, drink and be merry!

For 8 straight weeks, we live with temptation daily. It is hard to escape the treats and traditional holiday eats that easily derail weight or health management. No matter what your nutrition game plan is, these 30-holiday eating tips will help you get through the holiday season.

30 Tips For Holiday Eating

Research is not needed to remind us that we gain weight over the holidays. However, you can utilize these helpful tips to plan and get through holiday eating humps and bumps. Start now and use them forever. Or you will have to deal with the aftermath of using holiday eating as an excuse to overindulge.

  1. Holiday eating honesty is the best policy.

Put yourself in a win-win situation. Be honest about what is reasonable and how you can eat to succeed during the holidays. Plan a “stick-to-it strategy” be honest with yourself about your ability to stick with the plan despite temptation.

  1. Prioritize your “stick-to-it strategy” plan.

Plan what you will eat and drink during festive holiday eating occasions. Keep the strategy upfront and center in your mind all the time. Never let your goal out of sight or mind, especially during holiday eating when tempted by your favorite helpings of “devilly” delicious food.

  1. Create a practical holiday eating plan.

“Practical” is key. It is up to you. Will you stay the course and eat as you do normally? Are you going to strategize “cheats” then manage and maintain your eating goals? How about allowing yourself to give into holiday eating and just revisit your goals in the spring?

  1. Enlist holiday eating support.

If you have supporters, you will feel more comfortable and less stress when eating with family or friends during meals.

  1. Stick to your holiday eating guns.

You must physically be able to control your actions. This is where numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 come together because unless you decide to control your actions, none of the above will work.

  1. Be active.

Never get too busy or lazy to stay active, especially during the holiday eating season. If you maintain good habits

  1. Rest and de-stress.

Relaxation can help avoid stress eating. Stress eating only makes you stressed because you gain weight.  It is difficult to make good food choices when stressed over the holidays.

  1. Pay attention to holiday eating.

Be wary of every little thing you put into your mouth.

  1. Convenience.

Make healthy eating convenient. If it means eating salads from McDonald’s instead of French fries or keeping cut veggies in the fridge. Just do it. Make unhealthy eating as inconvenient as possible. Do not buy any food that is not a safe food and on your plan. If the food you are not supposed to eat isn’t around, you can’t eat it.

  1. Avoid hunger.

Holiday eating and being hungry is the perfect excuse to eat what you shouldn’t. Then overeat what you shouldn’t because you are more hungry.

  1. Daily motivation.

Motivate yourself every day. Identify what motivates you and get your daily dose no matter what. It might be a new dress. Or just the feeling of having more energy when eating better. The more you eat, especially poor food choices, the more lethargic you will be. And, you increase the risk of feeling bloated and uncomfortable after eating the wrong holiday foods. Is overindulging worth it?

  1. Just say, “No, thank you”.

No is not always a bad word. Practice avoiding foods or situations that you know are goal deterrents. Rehearse the scene in your mind. Practice saying, “No” if you have to. You will prove to yourself it can be done.

  1. Use smell vs. taste.

Enjoy the smell of flowers, lavender, cinnamon or any scent that may distract you from eating. Smells can be more satisfying than eating the actual food. Approximately, 80% of what we taste stems from smell and receptors in the nose.

  1. Give me an attitude.

A positive attitude weighs heavily on success. You are not depriving yourself of anything but feeding yourself delicious foods you choose that will help you get what you really want.

  1. Make choices.

If you have this, don’t have that. Be honest with yourself, don’t trick yourself into the vicious cycle of  “I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow” and then put it off day after day.  Stick with choices that will help you attain your goals. Make choices that you can maintain for life. Ultimately, it’s not just about getting through the holidays.

  1. Stay well hydrated.

Drink enough water and tea so your body has fluid on board to help sidetrack false hunger signals,  and because they do not influence appetites like other beverages containing salt and sugar.

  1. Identify and categorize foods.

Keep it simple. Eat the “must-haves” and avoid the “have-nots”.

  1. Maintain control.

Check out these holiday eating and health easy quick tips.

  1. Stay away.

Being around people who are negative and those who sabotage your good intentions can be devastating.

  1. Self Sabotage.

You can stay away from others but not yourself.  Why sabotage yourself? Make everyday count. No excuses. One-meal or even day is off-plan and no biggie. Just get yourself back on track without beating yourself up.

  1. Stay positive.

Positive feelings (happiness, success, improved energy) help guide positive holiday eating and drinking choices. Do not eat as a result of feeling sad or being emotionally drained. There will only be negative consequences as a result.

  1. Behavior strategies

Make behavior strategies that will support your goal. For example. if your plan last year was to eat before a party to avoid hunger and eat less and then you did not achieve your goal, change the strategy. Maybe this year you eat the crudite, no potatoes and half a portion of dessert. If previous eating strategies worked in the past, use them again.

  1. Transform strategy into adoption

Transform the behavior strategies (created from #22) into habits you adopt forever.

  1. Talk it up.

Boast and brag about more energy, healthy food choices, being active or anything that makes you feel good.  Each day, do something positive so that you can talk it up. Positive feedback from friends and family is important. This reinforces your progress, hard work, and daily motivation.

  1. Beware and aware of holiday eating.

Create rules to increase your holiday eating awareness. Set specific eating times. Space out the time you eat from one bite to the next. Try taking what you want to eat and holding on to it for a few minutes before eating it or until the end of a specified eating time. Allow the hors d’oeuvres to pass 2-3 times before taking your next.

  1. Chat up a storm instead of holiday eating.

It is difficult to talk and eat at the same time. So use the party as a chance to catch up, chat up, keeping eating down!

  1. I’ll second that!

If you think you might go for seconds take less than 1/2 of a normal portion first.

  1. Select colorful holiday eating foods.

Food appearance is as important as anything else in the food eating decision-making process. Colorful foods look and taste better. Set the pace with a colorful plate that no one would want to pass up.

  1. Nutrition 911 can protect you against too much holiday eating.

Do not dodge your nutritionist. I get so many cancellations right before the holidays. This is when you need the most support!

  1. The party goes on without you.

Do not feel like you have to attend every party you are invited to. If the same people are going to the same parties, you won’t miss much if you skip a party or two.

Holiday Eating Wrap-up

Thirty tips should be enough to get you through the humps and bumps of the holiday eating season. Use any or all of these full-proof strategies to your advantage. If you think these may help someone else through this slippery holiday slope, please share.

Happy Holidays!

#Holiday Eating # Eating Tips #Fuel Health

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.