Group together at Christmas dinner table

Eating Healthy for the Holidays

Pies, cakes, cookies, and candy—oh my! What are we to do? ‘Tis the season for overeating, weight gain, and discomfort. All of which typically results in the short-lived, but oh-so-necessary, “New Year’s resolution.” A resolution is a great idea if you can stick with it, but we often find ourselves triggered by negative thoughts and questioning why we tried to have a resolution in the first place. Fortunately, you really can make it through the holidays without guilt and weight gain. The key is practicing mindfulness.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “mindful” as being “aware.” This holiday season, be aware of your health, the food you’re eating, and your overall well-being. These simple mindfulness practices will help you start off the new year on the right foot by getting you through the holidays with more confidence and less weight gain.

Drink Water

Drink water—and lots of it. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. This will help you stay full, and avoid mistaking thirst for hunger.

Evaluate Your Plate

Before piling it high, take a moment to evaluate the table. First, get a smaller plate. Then scan what’s in front of you and look for the healthiest choices. Start with a crudité plate or a salad and add some nuts or other healthy fares. Grab a few goodies and walk away.

It’s Not All About the Food

Try not to focus on the food or gather around the holiday buffet table. Instead, focus on spending time socializing with friends and family.

Slow Down

Put your fork down between bites and enjoy your food. Taste it, savor it and chew it. This will not only help you enjoy your food but will also allow you to stop mindlessly munching. Remember, it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.


Many people deprive themselves of nutrient-dense foods during the holiday season in anticipation of indulging at parties. If you’re mindful and maintain your usual healthy dining routine, you’ll find that not only can you avoid overeating, but you won’t go home feeling stuffed like your Thanksgiving bird!

Remember not to punish yourself. If you indulge, the whole day/week/month isn’t wasted. Stay positive; don’t dwell on it, and instead emphasize getting back on track.

Enjoy the holiday season, your family and your friends. But most of all, enjoy yourself and your food!

By: Chef Gary Appelsies
Director of Healthy Eating