10 Dietitians Share the Best Advice for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

by | Updated: October 13th, 2020 | Read time: 5 minutes

You were wondering… we were wondering… how the heck does a person stay healthy during the holidays with boatloads of junk food available at every turn? Seriously – it starts with the holiday-themed cookies your co-workers bring into the office. Then, you come home and find your cousin delivered a huge tin of tri-flavored popcorn to your house. Once Thanksgiving hits, your diet is pretty much doomed. And finally, the winter holidays approach, and you’re health goals are crushed. True or false? FALSE!

These 10 registered dietitian nutritionists from The Little Clinic (Kroger’s in-store medical care center) are here to tell you otherwise. Your diet is not doomed. Your health goals are not crushed. You can have your holidays and stay healthy, too! Use these following tips to help you stay on track this season.

Family & Friends Toasting to Healthy Holiday Meal | Vitacost.com/Blog

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays (From the Experts!)

1. Make sure to eat before you go to a party or event! Specifically, I recommend getting as many fruits and vegetable servings in as possible, as these fiber-rich foods are not always available at a party. I also like to bring a fruit or vegetable dish, so I know there is a healthy option!
Amelia Noel

2. The holiday season calls for snacking at every corner which is festive and fun but can also be the sneaky culprit of excess calories. It is important to try and take note of the amount of mindless snacking you usually do around the holidays and work on reducing it. If you can tune into your hunger and eat when your body is physically hungry then it will help you maintain your weight through this joyous time!
Anna Smith

3. Don’t “save” your calories for the main meal. Often, people tend to avoid eating throughout the day as they plan to eat more calories at the main meal. This can lead to increased hunger and often leads to excessive calorie intake at one meal. The best plan of action is to continue to eat balanced meals throughout the day with a focus on fruit and vegetable intake.
Sarah Limbert

4. Incorporate physical activity into your holiday routine! Take the family for a walk, play a game of family football or even spend some time at the local playground. Whatever your preference, get the family up and moving!
Jordan Jennewine

5. In order to help prevent overeating at meals, pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table. Also, try to enjoy festive low-calorie beverages like coffee brewed with pumpkin spices or gingerbread-flavored loose tea rather than eggnog or pumpkin spice latte.
Molly Hembree

6. The holidays are a perfect time to practice a concept known as intuitive eating. Intuitive eating can help us get more in tune with our body’s satiety cues to prevent eating until uncomfortably full or eating when not hungry due to emotional or situational reasons. While there are 10 main principles that are all equally important to practice, the ones that certainly apply to the holidays are: “Honor your hunger” and “respect your fullness.” Accordingly, try not to skip meals or get overly hungry just so you can indulge later. Give yourself permission to eat anything you want and truly savor and enjoy all foods. Pay attention to your fullness cues while you are eating. Try not to label foods as “good” or “bad” or feel guilty for eating certain foods as this usually backfires and can prompt more eating or flare up a restriction/binge cycle. This practice may seem challenging, but once you work through the 10 principles, you are likely to feel more satisfaction, balance and confidence with your eating habits.
Katy Keogh

7. Stay consistent with good habits that are already in your routine! With shopping and family gatherings, it can be difficult to continue to make it into the gym and prepare nutritious meals, but it’s even more important to continue these habits during this time when it’s tempting to give up and say you’ll “get back on track” come New Year. I encourage my patients to mindfully indulge in their favorite holiday dishes by serving an appropriate portion size and savoring it, while passing on other less appealing holiday dishes. I also recommend piling on the vegetables for satiety and a nutrient boost! This way, you can leave the holiday season without feeling deprived and more importantly without feeling like you let “the holidays” get the best of you and derail your health goals.
– Ani Manukian

8. Don’t be afraid to be the person who brings a healthy a choice to the feast! Sticking with the MyPlate mantra of filling up half your plate with produce helps you enjoy your favorite foods (hello Grandma’s mac and cheese) while exercising portion control and increasing fiber to keep you full and prevent an energy crash later in the day!
Emily Baylosis

9. The holidays can be challenging with work parties and family gatherings. To help set yourself up for success, make a plan! If you’ve been invited to a party and have been asked to bring something to share, bring a nutritious dish that you know you can feel good about eating. I recommend a fruit or veggie tray, homemade salsa or dip with no-salt-added chips. If you know you’re likely to overindulge in the sea of appetizers, desserts and adult beverages, choose satiety-boosting fruits and vegetables with fiber and pair with lean protein before reaching for holiday favorites.
Elizabeth Vennefron

10. Begin by scoping out your food choices at holiday parties. This way you have a plan in mind that keeps you on track with your goals. Fill your plate with veggies, fruit and lean protein first and then take a small portion (usually ½ cup) of a more indulgent dish that you really love and only get to have during this time of year. Also try to go easy on alcohol and remember to stay hydrated. Finally, keep moving! Plan a family walk right after a big meal.
Lisa McCune

For holiday eats, recipes, healthy gift finder and more, visit The Holiday Shop Vitacost.com!