Health News Articles

10 Nutrition Tips for the Holiday Season

Nov 7, 2013
It’s that time of year again, and before you know it a few fun parties and a couple extra cookies can quickly turn into added pounds. A traditional holiday dinner can contain more calories than most nutritionists recommend for an entire day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your holiday dinner. Try these tips to control your calorie intake at holiday parties and meals.  

  1. Survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide what foods are worth eating and which you can ignore, and then stick to that decision. Why waste calories on foods that you don’t thoroughly enjoy?
  2. Eat a low-calorie snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party starving, you are more likely to overeat.
  3. Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Stick to lower calorie or calorie-free drinks (diet sodas, water, light beer, or a wine spritzer*), instead of punches, eggnog, and mixed drinks that can have up to 500 calories/cup.
  4. Sip a large glass of water between drinks containing alcohol. This will help keep you hydrated, and you will drink fewer calories by the end of the night.
  5. When you are hosting, make sure the menu includes lower-calorie foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share.
  6. Try not to hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room, and focus on people instead of eating.
  7. Watch your portion sizes. Do not cover your plate completely with food. Less is more.
  8. Drop out of the “clean plate club.” Leave a few bites behind every time you eat, especially if you are eating something you do not really care for.  
  9. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but take a small portion, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture of the wonderful foods of the season.
  10. Visit these web sites for free reduced-calorie and reduced-fat recipes:

Exercising during the hectic and sometimes stressful holiday season can help you maintain your weight and manage stress. Try walking, running, or stair-climbing. You can do these activities almost anywhere, which makes them easy to do even when traveling. Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust your expectations for holiday exercising. Try to stay flexible. Know that you might miss out on some workouts. Sneak in exercise whenever you can by taking a walk after a large meal, for example. Just make sure to get back to your regular exercise routine when you return home. 

The Nutrition Program at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro is dedicated to helping individuals make wise food choices and develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our nutrition counselors call 609.853.7070.

*please remember to drink responsibly when consuming beverages containing alcohol.