16 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

11 Dec

Hi all! I’ve been busy wrapping things up for this semester, so blog reader Catherine Andrews is taking over for a guest post today. Enjoy!

The holidays are a time for…overeating? It would seem that way, given the latest statistics.

  • Americans gain 1 to 1½ pounds annually during the holiday season
  • Leading health experts believe most midlife weight gain comes from poor holiday eating habits

To help fight holiday weight gain, best-selling author and health expert Dr. Dean Ornish created this list of 16 Steps to Healthy Holiday Eating. I thought this list would make a great holiday public service post for your site, and that your readers would appreciate this simple, helpful content.


“How to Indulge During the Holidays” – Dr. Dean Ornish

  • 1.       Eat something beforehand. If you don’t eat all day, you may arrive at holiday meals and parties ravenous and lose control.
  • 2.       Put 20 percent fewer high-calorie foods and 20 percent more fruits and vegetables on your plate. Studies show that you probably won’t notice the difference.
  • 3.       Eat the healthier foods first – they will fill you up somewhat, so you’ll be less likely to overeat the more indulgent foods.
  • 4.       Choose foods that leave evidence – e.g., keep the shrimp tails and chicken wing bones on your plate after you’ve eaten them. Studies show that if you have cues to see how much you’ve eaten, you’ll eat less.
  • 5.       Try not to put more than two or three items on your plate at one time. We eat more when food is in front of us.
  • 6.       Eat more slowly. The faster we eat, the more we eat. Sip water between bites. Holiday meals last longer than typical meals. If you wolf down your food, your plate may be clean while others are still eating, which will lead to seconds.
  • 7.       If you have a choice, use a smaller plate!
  • 8.       If you’re at someone’s home, try to serve yourself instead of allowing your relative to heap your plate full.
  • 9.       Arrive a little late and make a grand entrance. More of the indulgent foods will be gone by then.
  • 10.   If you go to a restaurant, ask your server not to put bread on the table beforehand. If it’s there, you’ll probably eat it. Leave more room for your favorite holiday foods instead.
  • 11.   Substitute cranberry sauce for gravy, which is usually high in fat and calories. Cranberry sauce is nutritious and loaded with antioxidants.
  • 12.   If you eat baked potatoes and yams, avoid toppings such as butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream. If possible, substitute low-fat yogurt or nonfat sour cream.
  • 13.   Watch the alcohol, which is high in calories and slows your metabolism. Also, too much alcohol can impair judgment, so the more you drink, the more you’re likely to eat.
  • 14.   Close your eyes and savor the food periodically during the meal. You’ll consume fewer calories and experience more pleasure.
  • 15.   Have just a few bites of dessert. The first and last bites are always the best, anyway.
  • 16.   Take a walk after dinner. You don’t have to hike five miles. A stroll around the block is a good start. Walking not only burns calories, it also helps relieve bloating and prevent heartburn.

For more information, and additional tips from Dr. Ornish on how to make healthy choices throughout the holiday season, visit www.marshealthyliving.com.


(kristi here) So as you can see, small changes that are easy to do can make a big difference. I think too many people get wrapped up in the “all or nothing” mindset, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t stress out if you don’t have a perfect week of exercise or an indulgent desert one night. As long as your healthy choices outweigh your not-so-healthy ones, you’ll be just fine. It’s all about the balance!

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks to Catherine for the helpful info!



6 Responses to “16 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips”

  1. teeneatlive December 11, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Great tips and they are always good to be reminded of during the holidays!

  2. Katie Carso December 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Good tips, I believe its all about balance and too! Christmas comes once a year, and one day is not going to wreck your healthy lifestyle or diet!

    Love you!

  3. Shannon (Healthiful Balance) December 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Great tips! 🙂

    Have a great Sunday!

  4. pbbrittany December 12, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    These are great tips!!

  5. kati@kelloggsfiberplus.com December 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Eating healthy throughout the holidays can be a challenge; however, having a plan is definitely helpful! I like to have a high fiber snack before I go to a holiday party or dinner event so that I don’t go overboard on the many delicious treats available. The high fiber content usually helps to keep my appetite in check.

  6. KatsHealthCorner December 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! 🙂

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