Tips for a Healthy Holiday

By Guest Blogger Heather Cupp, RD

It is easy for anyone to gain weight over the holidays when we are surrounded by food.  There are a lot of things we can do to make for a healthier and happier holiday season.

  • Have your family try lower calorie versions of their favorite recipe.  Even if it is something as simple as using egg whites instead of whole eggs. Remember that little things help.
  • Be the one who brings the veggie and fruit tray so you know you have some healthy options to add to your plate or snack on.
  • Do not skip meals so you can overeat at the main meal.  This affects your metabolism and makes us more likely to overeat and have an excuse to.
  • Have a healthy snack before going to a party or a meal – that way you are not overly hungry and less likely to overeat.
  • Drink water only on the day of the party – an easy way to save calories.
  • Don’t waste calories on something like a dinner roll you can have any time of the year.  Enjoy your favorite foods but balance is important.  Include all food groups – fruits, veggies, grains, meats/protein, dairy.
  • Small portions are the key.  Enjoy favorite foods but in moderation.
  • Wait 20-30 minutes before going back for second helpings.  Allow your body to figure out it is full before pushing yourself over the top with a second helping.  Find a fun family game like ‘Would you Rather’ to distract everyone before going for a second plate.


28 Responses

  1. I always always ALWAYS position myself right next to the veggie tray that I’ve conveniently brought.

    But sadly, it’s usually next to the brownies. Oh well, best of intentions at least…


    Thanks for the tips!

  2. These are great tips, but I am doubting the majority of the people will resist the temptation. That’s what New Year’s is for! 🙂

  3. These are all great tips!! I would also add working out 🙂 A lot of us tend to work out less during the holiday seasons. I am often guilty of it. Do want you can, even if it’s a 1 mile run around the block.

  4. Great tips. My healthcare provider makes my records available on line, just noticed in January of this year I was 10 lbs heavier then I was in September the year prior. (I took off all the weight by March.) BUT — DAMN HOLIDAYS!!

    I’ve made a pre-emptive return to the gym to undo the damage and your tips will help.


  5. Great tips. I especially like your point about ignoring the food you can get at any time of the year.

  6. Thanks for the tips. I write a blog for my health insurance clients called TIB Tips. I will probably link to this article in December as people start planning their Christmas and New Years celebrations.

  7. Good suggestions! Being the nerdy health advocate in my family, a few of my aunts recently emailed me for tips on keeping this T-day one to remember at the dinner table, not regret. This post pretty much sums it up!

    Because in my opinion, Thanksgiving is all about 3 things: good food, family, and counting your blessings.

    If your stuffed full of food theres usually only one thing on your mind: wishing you weren’t so full, haha. So eating a little of all your favorites you don’t normally get to enjoy is really the key on thanksgiving!

    Keeping in mind when your contemplating 2nds the importance of feeling good at th end of the meal so you can enjoy the rest of the holiday!!

    Enjoyed Your Post : )

  8. Yep, I’m one of those “eyes are bigger than my stomach” people. I definitely have to keep this in mind and really adhere to smaller portions! Thanks for the tips!

  9. Very excellent advice.
    I will pass this along to family and friends.
    Thank you. Happy holidays!

  10. So how do you play “Would You Rather?”

    • notesfromrumbleycottage-

      It is really simple, one person poses a question like would you rather___________ or ____________?

      Then the other players answer the question.

      It could be as simple as would you rather own a dog or a cat or a little bit more off the wall like would you rather eat nothing but peanut butter for a year or have to wear the same outfit everyday for a year.

  11. Thanks for the reminders. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hoopla!

    Not sure I want to play ‘Would You Rather?” with family members! ;p

  12. I especially love your second tip. My husband has RA and is on a restrictive diet. I always tell him, if we bring something that he knows he can eat, there is nothing to worry about! I, on the other hand, tend to be either very, very good or very, very bad.

  13. great tips! the tip i gave myself was to put the food i want on my plate, and give 1/2 of that to my dog haha jk. nice tips though!

  14. Great tips for the holidays – and year round! I’ve been trying different ways to reduce the fat in each holiday meal, or party foods like my Skinny Pigs in a Blanket (

  15. To stay Healthy around the Holidays you need to be healthy year round.

    It’s not a diet, it’s a life style change.
    I myself am a vegan. I don’t eat any animal products ( honey and chocolate aside) and it’s for moral and health issues.
    ( And havn’t been healthier! dropped 45 lbs by changing what I ate, dairy and meat)

    Health came first.
    I tell my friends and family to look closely at what they eat, and around the Holidays this can be extremely challenging.

    I know, I have a horrible weakness for pumpkin pies.
    But having the self restricted diet that I have, I’ve gone to great lengths to prove to the world, eating well, eating vegan ( is what works for me) or healthy doesn’t have to taste like something the dog threw up yesterday.

    Knowing your limitations, and being honest with yourself.
    A slice of cake, or a cup of Rice/Hemp/Soy ice “cream” every so often isn’t going to kill you. But if you go to party after party, gorging on the treats like its the last meal you’ll see until the great defrost in the spring.

    Don’t be surprised at the stretching in Santa’s pants.

    Eat small multiple snack like meals through out the day, and have a good REAL breakfast. If you eat a hardy breakfast before you head to Grandmas, you’re less likely to eat another serving or three of her mash potatoes.

    And the last resort, take your tooth brush with you. after you are done with your serving, go brush your teeth. You’re less likely to want to down some nog with minty fresh breath.

    Good luck, its about life style, not diet.

    My random two cents.
    Nice blog.

    “When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.”; – Thomas Jefferson

  16. This is why I ALWAYS make Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I make a HUGE meal with deserts. It’s just my son, 16, my daughter, 19 and myself. But…I have enough food for the next three days, plus plenty to freeze. That way, I don’t feel like I have to pig out on one sitting because I know there is plenty there in the fridge anytime I want something to eat–even if it’s just a little turkey sandwich. Also, walking after the meal helps.

  17. Good advice. On the morning of a major holiday, I make a point of going for a brisk walk or exercising in some other way. That way, I’m giving my metabolism half a chance when I later am tempted by all the good food!

  18. i use these tips 11 months of the year…not this one 😉

  19. I just covered the same topic, great post! I’m a huge fan of “bringing something healthy” to munch on and offer to others as well as “don’t waste the calories on a dinner roll.” I also recommend exercising or maintaining some sort of routine throughout the holiday season. Holidays are no excise to “binge” and “overindulge.” But ENJOY what you want in moderation!

  20. Thank you, Heather.

    These are excellent suggestions and I will pass them onto the family, although I must admit I am already slavering for the local eggnog and rum!

  21. Especial on holidays I exercise more than at home be cause you always eat more food and more of the bad stuff 🙂
    Last year I was on a golf holiday to Ritz Resorts, Tenerife. After the golf I really loved running on the sandy beach – just ½ an hour and you have burn of the extra calories from the previous day – but it is all worth it.

  22. great advice! I eat lightly the day of and then take a little bit of everything I really love and skip the rest (i.e. dinner roll – you’re brilliant!)

    Great post and congrats on being freshly pressed 🙂

  23. Great tips–I guess they are mostly common sense, but nicely presented and good reminders. I have been working on weight loss and improved health and am down 18 pounds. I surely don’t want to blow that over the holidays. I like the ideas of eating whatever you really want, but in smaller portions and not wasting calories on every day foods the best.

  24. My recipe: Walk inbetween the meals.

  25. i love your tips! such great ideas! my family and i usually play a game that requires us to move around a little, like, “gestures” or “charades”, just so that we can burn some calories without over exerting our selves while working up an appetite for seconds!

  26. I’m going to attempt your last three tips! But I don’t know if I can resist the homemade dinner rolls…

  27. Everything at moderation my 90 grandfather would say, thanks for the info.

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