Healthy Holidays! Enjoy Your Favorite Holiday Foods And Maintain Your Weight

Healthy Holidays! Enjoy Your Favorite Holiday Foods And Maintain Your Weight

Food plays a HUGE role in how we celebrate our holidays with friends and family. This time of year should be joyful, but many people are fearful of regressing into old eating habits, gaining weight and ruining all of the healthy progress they have made in the fall. I do not want you to be intimidated or fearful of this upcoming holiday season- instead, be conscious of your lifestyle choices and make room for your favorite foods. Here are 10 healthy tips to maintain your weight AND have fun!

  1. Enjoy the foods you love this time of the year. Some of your favorites only come once per year so make room for them! Don’t waste your calories on chocolate chip cookies and cake; you can buy them anytime of the year. Save room for holiday favorites such as Christmas cookies, sweet potato casserole and fruitcake. Take your time- walk around the food table and look at all of your options before choosing what you want, instead of loading your plate up with everything! Make room for your favorite holiday foods and leave out the foods you aren’t excited about.
  2. Focus on maintaining your weight instead of losing it. Be realistic and don’t set yourself up for failure. Keeping your weight stable is a huge accomplishment!
  3. Don’t go to parties hungry! If you go to a party starving, you are more likely to overeat. Instead, having a healthy and balanced snack before you go can save you from over indulging. For example, enjoy fresh fruit with peanut butter or vegetables and hummus. And fill up on water!
  4. Scan the entire food table before plating your food. Take your time and look at all of the food before deciding what you want. You will end up with more on your plate if you just start loading it up at first site. Our eyes are bigger than our tummies! Choose the foods you love first!
  5. Choose your beverages wisely. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water daily and avoid sugar laden holiday beverages. One cup of Eggnog can have over 400 calories calories per small glass and alcoholic beverages are loaded with empty calories. If you are going to have a holiday drink, enjoy one and then consume something lower in calories the rest of the evening.
  6. Load up on vegetables first! Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs- we always put more on our plate at first. Go for the veggie dishes first, protein and then the starches. You will be amazed at how many calories you will cut back on.
  7. Practice portion control. Use a dinner plate for your vegetables and protein and an appetizer plate for starches and desserts. If you are only using one plate, fill half with vegetables.
  8. Wear clothes that fit. Always wear a snug waistband during the holidays, especially at parties. This will help you be more conscious of overeating. No one wants to feel uncomfortable in a tight waistband.
  9. Make time for physical activity. Whether it is shoveling snow, playing with the kids, going for a run, or going to the gym, make time to move. Every step counts toward burning off those Christmas cookies!
  10. Make your recipes healthy. Swap out: 1 cup of applesauce for 1 cup of sugar; 1 cup of pumpkin for 1 cup of oil; 1 cup of plain greek yogurt for 1 cup of oil or sour cream; mashed bananas for butter or oil in baked goods; organic raw maple syrup or honey for sugar; and make salads with dark leafy greens instead of iceberg lettuce.
  11. Maintain a positive mindset. If you overindulge at a party, don’t give up! It takes about two days before excess calories are stored as fat. Get back on track by eating clean and exercising a little more. You will be back to your weight in a couple of days.

Running Stretch


Chart below is from

Approximate calories used (burned) by a 154-pound man
MODERATE physical activities: In 1 hour In 30 minutes
Hiking 370 185
Light gardening/ yard work 330 165
Dancing 330 165
Golf (walking and carrying clubs) 330 165
Bicycling (less than 10 mph) 290 145
Walking (3.5 mph) 280 140
Weight training (general light workout) 220 110
Stretching 180 90
VIGOROUS physical activities: In 1 hour In 30 minutes
Running/ jogging (5 mph) 590 295
Bicycling (more than 10 mph) 590 295
Swimming (slow freestyle laps) 510 255
Aerobics 480 240
Walking (4.5 mph) 460 230
Heavy yard work (chopping wood) 440 220
Weight lifting (vigorous effort) 440 220
Basketball (vigorous) 440 220


***A peppermint mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks (made with 2 percent milk, whipped cream) is about 410 calories. You would have to play a vigorous basketball game to burn that off!

***To burn off the glass of eggnog, you would have to walk for about 90 minutes!

***Consuming an extra serving of sweet potato casserole will cost you a 30 minute bike ride.

The calories add up quick! Choose your favorite foods wisely and stay active through the holiday season!




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