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Healthy Holiday Party Tips


Let’s face it. Holiday season = party season. And too many parties = too many chances to make unhealthy choices.

But there is a way to survive the holiday party season and still make healthy choices. Here are some suggestions from the experts on how you can avoid the pitfalls of holiday festivities. All it takes is a little preparation and some wise decision-making.

  • Start with a heart of gratitude for the health you have been given… and take responsibility for it!
  • Prepare in advance by having healthy, delicious recipes available for the holidays. Eating healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be boring.
  • Be sure you have a healthy, nutritious breakfast before being tempted with the less healthy options presented at most holiday meals.
  • Fill half of your plate with a fresh, salad (light on the dressing) first.  Add a second vegetable. Add the turkey and other cooked food last.  You will be more satisfied and less likely to gorge, even if you do decide to have a second helping of turkey.
  • Watch portion sizes. Since it is virtually impossible to count calories on food that you haven’t prepared, use the portion method.
  • A piece of protein the size of your palm (length and width) is a good amount for most people.
  • Don’t eat more than ½ cup of grains with a meal.
  • Salad and raw vegetables are “freebies”, as long as they are not loaded with candied nuts, cheese and dressing.  Raw vegetables are a great way to fill up prior to a meal.
  • Avoid processed dips.  Most of them contain a long list of ingredients that you likely can’t even pronounce… except of course, high fructose corn syrup!  That’s right, most of your favorite dips contain sugars that are toxic to your liver.
  • Opt for more wholesome dip choices such as hummus, guacamole or salsa.
  • Don’t dip into sauces and spreads unconsciously.  Dish a portion of about 2 tablespoons of guacamole or hummus onto a plate so that you don’t overdo it.  Salsa doesn’t contain a lot of calories or fat, but it usually does contain a significant amount of sodium.  So a word of caution to those of you on a sodium conscious diet.
  • Avoid the bread and mashed potatoes.
  • Wait 10 or 15 minutes after finishing your meal before breaking down for seconds.  Chances are you will lose the desire.
  • If you will be celebrating the holidays with your well meaning, but “food pushing” family or friends, call ahead and find out what is being served so you can be prepared.
  • Ask the hostesses if they mind if you bring a dish (or two) to accommodate the way you eat.  Most people appreciate the help, and this gives the hostess a “heads up” that you don’t eat a typical diet.  Be an example!
  • Take a wholesome, healthy dessert with you to the party. There is an amazing “raw” food restaurant near me that serves the most outrageous desserts.
  • Always carry some healthy food with you “just in case”.  This rule never changes.  Have a lunch box with nuts, vegetables, hummus, fruit, etc.
  • If you know there will not be healthy food served, eat something in advance.  This will stabilize your blood sugar, decrease cravings and increase your resolve.
  • Skip the fancy trimmings and opt for the more wholesome staple foods such as turkey without stuffing, salad, fruit, nuts, etc.  Most of the calories and inflammation come from the fat, sugar and salt filled additions such as gravy, stuffing, dressings, candied yams, etc.  You will potentially cut the calories of your meal by up to 2000 calories or more!
  • Have fresh berries for dessert instead of pie.