Eating during the holidays without gaining weight can be difficult for most. The average American gains five pounds from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day according to the National Institutes of Health.

Start by keeping in mind that Thanksgiving is only one day, Christmas Eve is only one day, and Christmas day is only one day. Instead of eating poorly the entire holiday season, choose wisely on the days you know you may indulge more than others and keep a positive outlook. You are less likely to gain weight if you try to eat healthy and maintain your exercise routine through most of the holiday season. Having the mindset of “Well it’s the holidays so I can eat whatever I want” is likely going to set you up for weight gain. Instead, think to yourself “It’s the holiday season and although I may not eat perfect every single day I will do my best to eat healthy most days especially those that are not an actual holiday.”

Stick with appetizers that are lower in calories such as veggie and fruit trays along with small amounts of cheese and nuts. During meals try to focus on lean protein and green vegetables while indulging in the richer foods like macaroni and cheese or cheese potatoes in smaller amounts. My advice: save yourself 200 calories and skip the roll or biscuit altogether.

As far as dessert, view all of your options first then choose one that you will thoroughly enjoy. Keep in mind fruit can make a healthy dessert, but if you want some pie keep in mind portion size and opt for a smaller slice.  If you are going to eat dessert, you might as well enjoy every bite so this may mean waiting one- to-two hours after the meal.  Another tip is if you choose to attend a gathering, offer to bring a dish to share and try to make it something healthy so that way you know there is going to be at least one side dish that is a good option for you.

If you drink more alcohol during the holiday season perhaps, try the following: a white wine spritzer made with seltzer water, light beer, or drinking liquor with club soda and a lemon or lime. Perhaps try drinking plain club soda with a lime in between drinks to reduce the total amount of alcohol, but for it to appear that you are continuing to drink and socialize.

Guest blogger: Megan Turner, MS, RDN, LD.  Megan is accepting new patients via TeleMedicine and in-office visits:


Megan Turner, MS, RDN, LD