Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

Thursday, November 9, 2017

YMCA dietician Mandy Holliday has put together a few helpful tips for navigating the holiday season with nutrition in mind:

We often associate the holidays with yummy food. Time with family and friends is often spent around a smorgasbord of wonderful treats. This abundance of calories can make it tough to stick to your healthful eating habits. However, you can make it through the holidays without losing track of your healthy lifestyle.

How can I avoid holiday weight gain?

When setting goals, make sure they are realistic and achievable. Rather than trying to lose weight during the holidays, focus on maintaining your weight. Holiday parties may seem to complicate this goal, but you can keep your calorie intake under control. Try these tips:

Be a picky eater. Think about the special foods you enjoy the most during this time of year. Decide which treats you want to savor most. Focus on those few treats, and don’t waste your calorie budget on the rest.

Don’t go out on an empty tank. Eat a snack before you leave home. Enjoy a pre-party snack of nut butter and apple slices or cheese and crackers. High fiber, high protein snacks can be the most filling.

Drink to your health. Even though it is cooler, we still need plenty of fluids. Be sure to fill up on fluids such as water or fruit-infused seltzer water. Often we think we are hungry when we are actually dehydrated.

Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol increases your appetite and may diminish your ability to control what you eat

Remember fruits and veggies. Make plenty of room on your plate for fruits and veggies which are low in calories and high in nutrients.

Distance helps the heart stay healthy. Try not to linger near the appetizers. If you think you may eat “just because,” pop a mint or stick of gum.

Put people first. Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family and friends, laughter and cheer. Try to find activities, such as evening walks or board games, you can enjoy with those you love.

Mandy ( can typically be found in the lobby of the Taylor Family YMCA on Wednesday mornings 9-11 a.m. and evenings 5-7 p.m. providing helpful nutrition information and yummy recipe ideas. You may also schedule an appointment with her for a per-hour fee to discuss your healthy lifestyle goals and develop a plan that best fits you. For more information on nutrition counseling with the Y, click here.