Skip Navigation

Holiday Healthy Eating for Everyone

December 2019

Karen Ensle Ed.D., RDN, FAND, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County

Don’t skip meals.  Skipping meals prior to a holiday event and thinking of saving calories, can often backfire and lead to overeating. Eating a light healthy snack such a light soup, fruit, yogurt or a handful of nuts can help curb your appetite and prevent overeating.

Never go to a party hungry.  Eat a light snack before you go out.  Skipping meals to “save calories” for later can lead to mindless overeating. A piece of fruit and cheese, a hard-boiled egg, a handful of nuts or a yogurt can help curb your hunger and help you feel fuller on fewer calories.

Scan the buffet or dinner table. Check out the food table before putting anything on your plate. Choose a couple of holiday favorites to splurge on instead of foods that you can have any other day of the year.

Choose drinks wisely.   Alcoholic beverages contribute empty calories and can cause you to make poor judgments with food. Be aware of how many calories and how much alcohol is in your glass. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation, and alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

Contribute to a healthy dish. Bring a low fat holiday dish to the party and go home empty-handed.

Say no to food pushers.   Be polite but firm when you are pressured to eat. Learn to say no politely.

Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.  Eat slowly, and check your fullness levels while you’re eating.

Eat slowly- put your fork down between bites and savor every bite. It can take up to 20 minutes to feel full once you start to eat.

Think about the rainbow of color.   Cover half of your plate with a variety of veggies and fruits. They are rich in nutrients and the fiber will help you feel full.

Keep moving.  One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity. To burn off extra calories, intensify your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week, and increase the intensity of your workout. Check with your doctor before you start.