Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

December 13th, 2011

The holiday season can be a difficult times of the year for people who are trying to manage their weight. "Many family gatherings and parties involve a large selection of high-fat, high-caloric foods," says Barbara Bender, RD, LDN, a dietitian for the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Wellness Program.

"To stay on track with your weight loss efforts, it's important to have some strategies in place to maintain a healthy eating plan." Barbara offers the following tips to help stick with your nutrition goals: Don't get too hungry.

  • Being overly hungry often leads to poor food choices and over eating.
  • Eat a healthy snack before going to a party (fruit, veggies, yogurt).
  • Don't skip meals on holidays, treat the day as a regular day and eat at least three meals. Practice portion control.
  • Use a smaller plate so you don't take too much food and keep portions small.
  • Try to limit yourself to one trip to the buffet table.
  • If you'd like more to satisfy cravings, make a doggy bag and take some home for the next day. Don't stand beside the food.
  • You can often snack hors d'oeuvres without realizing how much you're eating.
  • Focus on the conversation and not the food. Enjoy the company! Avoid "clean plate syndrome".
  • Leaving some food on your plate will signal that you are done eating, and people will be less likely to ask if you want seconds. Fill up on healthier foods Choose healthier food choices such as steamed shrimp, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dip, sandwiches without mayo. Or, bring a healthy dish of your own to the party (this guarantees a healthy choice that you will enjoy) Choose only foods you really want to eat.
  • Don't waste calories on foods you don't enjoy. Look at all the choices at a party before eating and select accordingly. Limit alcoholic and sugary beverages.
  • The calories you drink can add up quickly and often do not provide any nutritional value to the diet. Alcoholic beverages may also stimulate your appetite and inhibit your ability to make appropriate food choices. Continue exercising.
  • This helps manage stress and burn calories. When schedules get busy, remember that a shortened workout is better than no workout at all.

Healthy Substitutions for Holiday Cooking

Instead of: Use:
Cream Cheese Low-fat or fat-free cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
Heavy Cream Evaporated skim milk
High-Fat Cheeses Low-fat or skim-milk cheese
(look for < 5gm fat per ounce)
Mayonnaise Low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise or plain low-fat yogurt
Oil or fat (for basting) Fruit juice or low fat stock
Oil (in baked goods) Applesauce
Sour Cream Fat-free sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt
Sugar Nonnutritive sweeteners (i.e. Splenda)
Whipped Cream Fat-free whipped cream or fat-free
Cool Whip
White Flour Equal parts white flour and whole wheat flour
Whole Egg 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute
Whole Milk Skim milk



1 of 1
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. To ensure security, performance, and full functionality, please upgrade to an up-to-date browser.