The Holidays are Here!

Healthy Eating Tips for Holidays Gatherings….

Holidays can be a very fun time full of family and friends, and often revolve around food.  This can be a challenge for those trying to lose or even maintain their weight through the off-season.  You can still avoid the typical holiday weight gain while celebrating with everyone else!  When going to a holiday gathering, keep the following in mind:

Never go Hungry:

Be sure to eat a small healthy snack before going to a gathering or waiting for a holiday meal.  This will help prevent you from over-eating…

Include 10-20 grams protein, high fiber grains, and some veggies/fruit for a satisfying pre-meal.


  •  Salad topped with tuna and white beans and light dressing
  •  Small whole grain tortilla filled with lean meats and veggies
  •  Shelled edamame steamed with cauliflower and broccoli
  •  Green smoothie
  •  Greek yogurt topped with small amount of granola or muesli
  •  Poached egg sandwich on 1/2 whole wheat English muffin with spinach and roasted peppers

Spread the Happiness:

Bring something deliciously healthy to share with everyone!


  • Cheve or other cheese with French bread or your favorite crackers
  • Hummus with veggies and whole grain crackers/matza
  • Baked spiced sweet potatoes
  • Charcuterie plate or smoked salmon plate
  • Pumpkin or sweet potato pie/cookies
  • Salad topped with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds
  • Tropical fruit salad
  • Rice pudding

Plateful of Ideas:

  • Fill your plate with the healthiest offerings first.  Then, selectively choose small amounts of the more calorie dense items (the “treats”) to garnish the meal.
  • Concentrate on your meal when you are eating it.  Bite, chew fully, and assess the food to see if you like it.  You can even discuss flavors with your buddy, or complement the chef- “does this have cinnamon in it?  It’s fantastic!”

Deck Your Plate with Colors:

  • Choose colors!  Aim to have at least 3 different (and bright) colored foods during a single meal.

Practice Portion Control:

Know your appropriate portions and what they look like when on your plate.  Choosing smaller serving utensils, smaller plates, and smaller cups will help limit over-eating.  Consider the day as a whole, and be mindful of your choices throughout the day.  Here are some ideas to get you started in controlling your daily and meal portions:

  • Split/share or eat ½ of large plates served.
  • Limit yourself to 2-3 small holiday “treats” per day, and account for the treats when eating the rest of your meals by choosing healthy and balanced foods.

The Buddy System:

  • Share desserts with a friend or significant other.  To try a larger array of items, carefully select 3 desserts (or other meal items) to share ½ the desserts with a friend.

Be a Mover:

  •  Fill your plate once and then move away from the food table to the other side of the room.  Limit yourself to two plates of hoer d’oeuvres, or one meal plate with a small dessert.

Bridge the Gap:

  • Bring gum or a mint to chew after you have finished your selected meals/snacks. This will help you resist the urge to eat more.

Track it:

If it helps (without causing “food-obsession/phobia”), keep track of your food and drink intake during the holidays.  Maintaining a food log raises your consciousness and makes you a more mindful eater.

 And remember, be proactive (and encourage friends) to contact a dietitian prior to and during the holidays to learn the appropriate portions in your off-season!  Your nutritional needs change through the different phases of training, so aim to become familiar with your off-season needs this month and year!

Sarah Weber, RD, LD

Sarah Weber, RD, LD

In good health,

Sarah Weber, RD, LD Nutrition Services

What are your favorite holiday meals?  And what are your favorite healthy holiday treats?  Share with us on Facebook or Twitter……

  Simple Holiday Recipe

This tasty sweet relish is versatile and can top cheeses, meats, yogurt, and baked sweet potatoes to compliment your own delicious meals.


Make this simple recipe one to two days ahead for the flavors to nicely blend.

16 ounces fresh cranberries2 oranges, juiced or half cup orange juice1/3 cup maple syrup1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Place ingredients in a two quart stockpot.
  2. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and stir.
  3. Cook ten minutes, until cranberries burst and liquid starts to thicken.
  4. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Borrowed from the Fresh20 website: