Tips For Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Indulge during the holidays, go on a strict diet after? That’s the message our culture sends, and to many people it’s confusing. This is especially true for those struggling with an eating disorder. Colleen Schreyer, an eating disorder specialist, shares a few tips about how to eat healthily during the holidays.

Tip #1: Self-Monitor
If you're worried about calorie counts and potential weight gain during the holidays, there are dozens of free apps and online programs to help you keep track. Schreyer recommends one called It's normal to weigh yourself a few times a week and see fluctuations in weight, especially after a big meal. You should be concerned if you see major fluctuations in weight from week to week, but the difference of a few pounds from day to day is considered normal and healthy.

Tip #2: Set Goals
Plan out your week and set SMART goals for your meals. It's not very realistic to set a goal of not eating a single bite at a holiday party, but it's more realistic to say you will limit yourself to a certain number of appetizers or munchies. Remember, SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Reasonable/realistic
  • Time-bound

Tip #3: Stimulus Control
Along with setting goals, you can plan ahead to control any food-related stimuli that might cause you to stray from your desired eating plan. Don't grocery shop on an empty stomach; have a healthy snack before a meeting where there might be not-so-healthy snacks in the center of the room; change your walking route to avoid the table with holiday goodies. Also, at home, keep what you want to eat. Tuck your chips and snack foods in the back of the cupboard and set out a bowl of (nice looking) fresh fruit, so your decision to snack healthily is easier and more convenient.

Tip #4: Take a Lap
When attending a holiday party with many food options, take a lap around the room to see all the food available before filling a plate. Likewise, if there are passed appetizers, don't fill up on the first few things that come out the kitchen door. This will help you more easily count calories or track food intake.

Tip #5: Exercise
Even if you don't have time to hit the gym for an hour workout, stepping away from your desk to talk a short, 10-minute walk can do you good. Do workouts in bouts of 10 minutes, which is the threshold for your body to convert to calorie-burning mode. Also, it's easier to commit to a New Years resolution of exercising more in 2016 if you incorporate some kind of exercise or workout into your routine in December.

Tip #6: Look to Social Support
You're definitely not the only one in the room who is watching their weight! Talk to friends about how hard it is to stay on track during the holidays and how hard it is not to grab that second or third dessert from the table. You may find great ideas and additional tips for maintaining your weight management plan during the holidays.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


Ed December 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Don't put off a workout/diet regimen!

I was talking to my father a few weeks back and he told me that he was going to wait until after the holidays to start his diet. I asked him why wait and he said that he didn't want to have to feel the guilt of holiday eating. I told him if he had started back then, the undesired effects of bad eating wouldn't be as bad if he started his routine as soon as possible, rather then wait until 10 pounds gained later.

The lesson, do not procrastinate with your health goals, take one day at a time, and do your best to be the best version of yourself everyday!


Joy Walton December 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm

The tip about ten minute exercise bouts is helpful and encouraging for occasions when a 30 minute walk or workout isn't possible. Thank you!


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