Tips for Holiday Eating

Provided by Kristen Keith, Dietetic Intern
Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Texas at San Antonio


Can we get through the holiday season free of guilt, weight gain, or negativity towards our self-esteem? (Hint: the answer starts with Y and ends with S).

The holiday season is notorious for its numerous tasty food options. Between family gatherings and the office party, there seems to always be a temptation right behind your shoulder. Although it seems like a daunting task, you have the power to make this holiday season a joyful and healthful experience. By setting realistic goals, applying proper planning and employing smart tips, you can emerge into the New Year even happier and healthier than the year before.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin


  • Refrain from “saving” your calories throughout the day by skipping meals1
  • Avoid overeating by using a smaller plate2
  • Survey the buffet/table before getting a plate and choose your favorite foods and skip the others3
  • Keep each food separated from each other for portion control (ex: keep mashed potatoes from touching the stuffing)
  • Make healthy food swaps by categorizing foods into eat, sample, and skip foods1
  • Choose healthy and filling foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to aid in satiety2
  • Eat until you are satisfied, not “stuffed”3
  • Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds in order to give your body time to process what you have eaten2
  • Always have a glass of tea or water with you at all times. Stay hydrated!
  • Get the most satisfaction from every bite! Employ slow and mindful chewing1
  • Share the health! Bring a dish to the gathering that highlights one of your favorite vegetables
  • Post-meal nap? Position yourself at an incline to reduce your risk of reflux
  • Shift the focus of the holidays to socializing with old friends and family



  1. Helpful tips for holiday parties. Eat Right Website. Published January 31, 2014. Reviewed December 2013. Accessed November 18, 2016.
  2. Kohn, MS, RDN, LDN J. ed. How to enjoy the holiday without the weight gain. Eat Right Website. Published November 24, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016.
  3. Macaire, RD G. ed. Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating. Sutter Health CPMC. healthy-holidays.html. Published 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016.

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