Avoid Over-Stuffing This Holiday Season

Jennifer Christman, RDN, LDN, CPT, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Medifast, Inc.

The holiday season can be a time of excess, both in eating and in celebration. It’s easy to overindulge in large portions of high calorie foods; tis the nature of holidays for many people. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to maintain your healthy habits and your waist line, consider the following tips:

1. Don’t change your eating pattern.

Have you ever planned on “saving” your calories by dodging food all day for a party later that evening? Many people do, but what they don’t realize is that the body will naturally try to compensate for the lack of calories and nutrients later in the day. By skipping meals and starving yourself prior to the event, you’re more likely to overindulge and eat more than you would normally would have had you maintained your normal eating pattern! So, stick to eating every few hours to help with metabolism, normal blood sugar levels, and preventing those binges later on.

2. Eat breakfast.

Start off the day with a balanced breakfast. Include at least three of the following for a nutrient dense and energy-packed meal: low-fat dairy, fruit, whole-grains, lean protein and vegetables. This will give you the nutrition you need to plan holiday activities, run errands, shop, or wrap gifts. Try a veggie omelet made with egg whites, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and low-fat cheese. Include a glass of unsweetened almond milk or skim milk and a cup of berries to round out the meal. A balanced breakfast will help jump start your metabolism and give you the energy you need to stay focused throughout the day.

3. Avoid grazing.

Prior to arriving at a holiday party, make a plan to avoid grazing. How many times have you stood by the buffet table and mindlessly ate whatever was being served while catching up with family and friends? By the end of the night, the number of calories you consumed is a complete and utter mystery. High-calorie foods, such as sweets and high-fat dips, are often a part of the holiday menu and can cause unwanted calories to add up fast. To prevent yourself from overeating, make a plan to create distance between you and the buffet table. Talk with friends in a different room other than the one with food in it to avoid grazing.

4. Be picky!

Let’s face it; there are bound to be several tempting treats that you cannot completely avoid because making and serving them are truly a part of your family’s holiday tradition. If you were completely honest with yourself, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without a taste, right? So, be picky when it comes to indulgences. Have a plan and carefully choose which higher calorie foods are truly worth it. Does your mom make the most amazing chocolate chip cookies? Is your aunt’s double chocolate cake a tradition? Choose wisely and watch your portion size to keep overall calories down.

5. Water, water, water!!!!

Staying hydrated is one of the habits to help you sustain your energy level and keep you feeling your best. Keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times throughout the holiday season. When you go out shopping, refill it at a water fountain for free. When attending a party, try adding a little fizz and/or flavor to your hydration regimen with options like seltzer or sparkling water with a lemon or lime wedge.

6. Keep the drinks skinny or avoid them all together.

Free flowing alcohol tends to be a staple during the holiday season and can be a trigger for many people. A few drinks add extra, non-nutrient calories while lowering inhibitions, which leads to overeating. Avoiding alcoholic beverages when possible will help keep your calorie intake down. If you do choose to imbibe, stick with zero calorie mixers and light beers. Fill your glass with ice to add water and reduce the volume of the alcoholic beverage. While enjoying spirits, drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage to ensure you stay hydrated.

7. Fill up with color.

Fill your plate with low calorie, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. Enjoy vegetables like; peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, cauliflower, and broccoli. Seasonal fruits like pomegranate, pears, oranges, and clementine make a sweet addition to any buffet. Filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables can ensure you keep your overall calorie intake low and get the fiber you need to stay full and satisfied.

Try incorporating these tips during the holiday season to avoid over indulging and maintain your healthy lifestyle.


Jennifer Christman, RDN, LDN, CPT, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Medifast, Inc.

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