Top Strategies to Make the Holidays Healthier

When you are trying to lose or manage your weight, the holidays can be tough. Tempting foods and social pressure can easily derail your best intentions. Our Health Coaches have shared their favorite strategies for navigating the challenges of the season. Find a few that work for you, and you could be heading into the New Year energized with momentum towards your weight and health goals.


Use the "ADD - ENJOY - AVOID" approach What foods will you ADD to your shopping list and your menu? Make sure you have plenty of condiments, add-ins, extra foods and fruits and vegetables on hand. Prep and plan as much as you can in advance, so you have meals and snacks ready when you want them. Phase 2/maintenance tip: Incorporate portioned servings of lean proteins and whole grains to round out your meals. Plane which foods you will ENJOY.

AVOID bringing food into the house that you don’t want to eat or could be a problem for you. They’re foods you don’t even love but tend to eat anyway because they are there. Or there are foods that you tend to eat at the same time each year. Remove these from your home or keep them out of sight. Don’t “save your calories” for your holiday meal. Eat like you normally would throughout the day to avoid feeling ravenous and overeating at your holiday meal. In fact, the strategy of “front-end loading” (eating before you go) helps a lot of people avoid temptation or over-eating in challenging social situations. Before you go anywhere, make a filling shake, or have an entrée with lots of vegetables.

Keep a physical activity routine in place. Even if it’s just a 30-minute walk (15 minutes out and 15 minutes back), do something every day. It keeps you connected to your goals and can help manage stress too! Don’t skimp on sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep can lead to low energy and overeating. Fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables. Focus on a variety of colors and aim for 2 full cups with your meals. Have a solid, detailed plan for dessert.

After the meal, go for a walk or play a game. Search out activities like playing with the kids or catching up with a relative that will take you away from the kitchen and into the moments of laughter and joy with family and friends.