4 Solutions for Common Holiday Eating Mistakes



by Nicole Olen RD, LDN, CHC

The holiday season has arrived!  That means endless amounts of food, indulgent sweets and treats, and decreased physical activity for most individuals.  With all the food and beverage temptations, the holidays and parties make it tough to stick with your health and fitness goals.  Here are 4 common holiday eating mistakes that you may fall victim to and simple suggestions on how to combat them!  

Problem 1:  You try and save calories for the big meal – Seems like a good idea to save calories, but the problem is that cravings take over.  You’ll start to desire unhealthy foods more and end up over-eating.  Metabolism is shown to slow down, and your body will go into partial starvation mode due to the skipping of meals and snacks.  You may also experience indigestion, gas, and bloating once you finally eat, which is never fun in the middle of a party!

Solution 1:  Eat a healthy breakfast loaded with fiber and protein to keep you feeling satisfied.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day – Lots of people can mistake hunger for thirst.  Try to include healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables throughout the day as well!

Problem 2:  You mindlessly munch – Grazing leads to higher caloric intake, and you never feel truly satisfied from just munching versus sitting down to a complete meal.  Take nuts for example, yes they are healthy, but they are also calorically dense and add up quickly handful by handful.  

Solution 2:  Have a healthy snack before the party so you don’t arrive extremely hungry and ready to pounce on the cookie platter.  Once at the party, move your socializing away from the buffet or appetizer table, which will help reduce unconscious nibbling.  Out of sight, out of mind!  Lastly, keep one hand busy with a cup of water, seltzer, or crushed ice.  

Problem 3:  Your eyes are bigger than your stomach – Overloading our plates leads to a higher calorie consumption.  This creates the “eat until we’re sick” feeling.  

Solution 3:  Serve yourself on a smaller plate – You will eat less by lack of space on your dish.  Start by loading your plate with vegetables, salads, and fruits.  Focus on lean proteins and watch the added sauces and gravies.  Remember, just a taste can satisfy a craving.  Ask yourself, will finishing this piece of pie make me feel better?

Problem 4:  You have no self-control – Are you the person that can’t resist that second, third, or possibly fourth serving of sweet potato pie after a huge meal or two?

Solution 4:  Distract yourself!  Chew gum or pop a mint immediately after eating, or brush your teeth.  Have a glass of water post-meal.  Help clean up the kitchen or help with dishes.  Stay busy and reconnect with family and friends.

As you get ready to do holidays your way, choose to indulge in only your favorites.  And, as always, let’s remember the true meaning of the holidays… a cherished time to spend with family, friends, and loved ones.  Have a happy & healthy holiday season!