Healthy Holiday Eating Guide

Need some inspiration for healthy holiday eating? 

Read on for my favorite tips!

Nutrition tips to survive the holidays

…’tis the season of abundance. Abundant food, drink, entertaining, gifts. It can be overwhelming, and eating healthy often falls off the radar when faced with so many temptations like shortbread cookies, and candycanes, and all those lovely cheese platters.

study from 2000 revealed that the extra weight we tend to gain at holiday time is an actual fact and not just conjecture. It’s not that we gain a ton of weight in one year, it’s the fact that we gain a few pounds, say 10, then we manage to lose 8, resulting in a net 2 pounds that never shifts. And this happens year after year after year…and that’s why it’s super important to not give yourself too many allowances – that net 2 pounds equals 10 pounds after only 5 years. 

Here are my top tips to avoid the holiday gain:

Eat breakfast / lunch before you go: going anywhere like a buffet on an empty stomach is a sure-fire way to over-eating since you’ll be starved once you get there. And chances are you’ll head straight for the chips or candy for that immediate hit of sugar. Having food before you go keeps your body satiated so that you can make smart choices at the buffet.

Bring your own food: One of my clients kindly offered to bring something to a family function this Thanksgiving and was actually dumped with coming up with the whole menu…seriously. Like 4 side dishes, 2 desserts plus stuffing and gravy. This extremely busy mom of two decided to go to Whole Foods and pick up healthy versions of family favourites like vegan mushroom gravy, stuffing made of naan and roasted root vegetables. This was so great for her because 1) she was able to keep up her family’s healthy eating style and not be subject to the marshmallow sweet potatoes, and 2) save herself hours of un-planned for time in the kitchen. It’s one thing to plan a holiday dinner, it’s quite another to be dumped an entire menu on you! (Of course, you can also say no!).

Make smart choices at the buffet table: load up on veggies first, turkey, salad. Eat that first, then head to the dessert table.

Lots of H20 around the booze: drinking isn’t uncommon at family functions. I mean, sometimes we just HAVE TO. Stay hydrated with lots of water in between!

Stop at one: If you are someone who cannot just stop at one cookie (or whatever it is), put one or two on your plate and walk away. Occupy your other hand with a glass of water and join the party. Basically, the closer you stand to the buffet table, the more you will mindlessly stuff your face. 

Entertain smartly: If you’re entertaining, don’t please everyone by having 10 different kinds of chips and chocolate. If you’re seriously trying to lose weight and feel better, reflect that in the food choices you make. Don’t worry, your guests won’t complain and leave if there isn’t 10 different boxes of chocolate! I love to entertain and I certainly don’t force my eating style on any of my guests, instead I use it as a learning/teaching opportunity. I make a bunch of healthy stuff, but I have the occasional crappy snack in between so there is a nice balance (see, 90/10 split!). Clickhere to access my members only portal with healthy entertaining recipes!

Don’t guilt yourself: If you do end up overindulging, please don’t fret or think negative thoughts. That’s just as bad as eating an entire box of cookies in one go. Instead take it as a learning opportunity and decide how you will incorporate more healthier foods into your life again.

Know your triggers: family functions can be full of triggers. The “well-intentioned” mother asking you when you’re going to have kids or get married, or get a husband who has a “real job” (cue eating an entire pie), to the maybe not-so-well intentioned crabby aunt who just doesn’t understand why you won’t eat that second (and third) piece of jello-miracle-whip sugar coma she made – “what’s wrong with you? You trying to be skinny?”. Knowing your triggers and who sets you off at these functions is a huge step towards not allowing yourself to get dragged into their stories – cause that’s what it is – their stories. Have some pre-arranged phrases in your head like “I am focusing on my health right now and so choose not to over-indulge” – then WALK AWAY. You have to be STRONG in your conviction before you get there so repeat the phrase in the mirror, stand tall and be confident that YOU HAVE GOT THIS. I believe in you, if that counts for anything…and you know that if you do end up slipping, I won’t judge. Just chalk it up to experience and learn how you can do things differently. Perhaps a trigger will come out of nowhere – that’s the universe checking your resolve. 

Be thankful & focus on family and friends: this is the season for family get-togethers, love and abundance. Instead of thinking “weight loss” or fear of what to eat, follow the tips above, take control of bringing your own dishes, and think “weight management / health management” instead. You’ll take so much pressure off if you do!

So there you have it! I hope these tips help keep you focused and fit this holiday season!


If you need help discussing your health and nutrition goals before you head into the holiday season, click here for a free 30 minute phone consultation to see how the right coach and the right plan can make the difference between Gym January and weight LOSS January.


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