Navigating Holiday Nutrition

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Navigating Nutrition During the Holidays


The holidays are a wonderful time of year but they can also be a stressful time, especially for individuals who are working hard on looking and feeling their best. 


So, we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you make some mindful choices while still enjoying yourself this holiday season.

  • Bring Your Own Dish

Take some control of your choices by bringing a healthy dish option. It gives you something tasty and good to add to your plate but also something great to share with others. Maybe a festive side salad or a tasty veggie dish sautéed in EVOO with some extra herbs and spices for even more flavor. Get creative and have some fun with this one!

  • Eyeball Serving Sizes

Try to aim to eyeball your serving sizes so you don’t overdo it. For protein, think about aiming for 1-2 open palm size servings. For salad, load up the plate but limit the dressing serving to about the size of the top of your thumb. For those tasty sides such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, pasta, or veggies with lots of extra delicious things added to them, aim for 1 cupped hand serving each. 

  • Fill Up That Plate 

Fill up your plate by first adding in some healthier veggie options, think lots of greens like salad and veggies, and then load up your plate with that delicious protein. Eating protein helps your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also an excellent source of energy and it helps make antibodies that fight off infections and illnesses.  Last to the plate are those other tasty side dishes in the remaining space. 

  • Take it Slow

Enjoy your meal and your company. Chew slowly and savor each delicious bite. Start up a “What are you grateful for” conversation with your company. It can take our brain longer to realize that you’re actually full, so slow down while you eat so you’re better able to tell when you’re actually full.

  • Check In With Yourself

Don’t just eat to eat because it’s there. During the holidays there will almost always be plenty of food around… and the opportunity to mindlessly graze will also be lurking around each corner. Instead, check in with yourself to think about your actual hunger. Are you really hungry, still hungry, full, satisfied, or just eating to eat because there is so much delicious food everywhere you look? Stop to ask yourself this question and try to answer it honestly and take action in what feels right for you at that moment. 

  • Skip the Second Serving – Drink Some H2O

Instead, enjoy a tasty beverage; tea, ice water, seltzer, or maybe a glass of wine or a special cocktail. Better yet, maybe have an entire glass of sparkling water with some fresh lemon alongside any other tasty beverage. 


Staying hydrated can help fill you up. Drinking water also helps to increase your energy & relieve any fatigue. It also flushes out toxins and carries nutrients and oxygen throughout your body. Lastly, drinking plenty of water aids in the digestion of your food and prevents constipation. 


Set aside some leftovers for tomorrow. Take that extra plate and make it “to-go.” Who doesn’t love a good “moist maker” sandwich the day after Thanksgiving?! 

  • Save Some Room for Dessert

Plan ahead. If you’re a person who loves some sweets, check out your options in advance and try to plan ahead for your favorite. Maybe have a smaller serving of a more indulgent side during dinner so you can have room for your favorite dessert later. You can also try cutting small one bite samples from various desserts so you get to enjoy a little bit of everything without going overboard. Lastly, if you’re not much for desserts, no worries, grab a cup of coffee or tea to join the group for some more connection and time together. 

  • Enjoy Yourself

At the end of the day, enjoy yourself mindfully. Don’t stress about one or two or three days of enjoying yourself. A couple days of indulgence won’t ruin the work you put in week after week as long as you get back to better habits and choices on a regular basis. 


Also, don’t “punish” yourself or make yourself feel sorry or guilty if you go a little (or a lot) overboard on any holiday. Just focus on anything that you did well, reflect on what you could do better next time and try to do better again the next day. Anything you may feel bad about from one day does not need to carry over to the next day. Don’t let it. Just try to make better choices for the next meal, day, week, etc. Keep moving forward. 


We hope you try out a few of these tips and that they help guide you, but we also hope you focus on being present, grateful for these special moments and really enjoy your holidays. As ​​Henry David Thoreau once said, “surely joy is the condition of life.” Enjoy yourself. 


If you need more help navigating your nutrition during the holidays, reach out to chat with our nutrition Coach Caren!

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