Making Smart Food Choices During the Holiday Season

December 07, 2018
Smart food choices this Holiday Season

Eat Healthy Now and Reap the Benefits Long into the New Year

The holidays are here and with them come the multitude of family dinners and parties laden with not-so-healthy food and drinks. But eating mindfully and wisely can help you successfully maneuver even the biggest temptations, which can minimize holiday weight gain.

Choose Healthier Party Food Options

If you are determined to stick with your food plan, here are some nutritionally dense, guilt-free options to help keep you on track. 

Instead of Choose
Potato chips Flavored rice cakes, baked tortilla chips and salsa
Fried or greasy appetizers High-protein options like shrimp cocktail, baked chicken skewers or lox
Heavy desserts

A small serving of dark chocolate, which is loaded with antioxidants, along with a small handful of nuts, like walnuts or almonds

Cream-based cheesy dips

Green salad with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Pasta or potato salad

Fresh vegetables dipped in low-fat greek yogurt or hummus


Whole or fresh cut fruit


Flavored, sugarless seltzer water

Before you head out and enjoy the parties, plan your days accordingly. Here are some tips and recommendations by the Diabetes and Nutrition Teaching Center at Aiken Regional Medical Centers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you breeze through this busy time of year.

  • Get up earlier in the morning to go for a brisk walk or get an early session in at the gym
  • Don’t skip meals to save up calories for later in the day, but eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep blood sugar steady
  • Focus on the quality time with family and friends instead of the food
  • If you plan to have dessert, skip the potatoes and bread during the meal
  • Plan to bring along a healthy, guilt-free dish for all to enjoy
  • If there is a buffet, start with a salad or vegetables to fill up on fiber
  • Use a small plate for servings of your favorite food items
  • Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to cravings for foods high in fat and sugar, so aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night
  • Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite food that you only eat once or twice a year; just eat a smaller portion and savor it

The BIG Benefit of Family Meals

Busy schedules have made it increasingly difficult to sit down to dinner as a family these days. In fact, over the past three decades, the number of meals families eat together has declined by more than 30 percent. But even if it’s not that easy to get everyone together for a meal, the benefits of eating together make it worth making family dinners a priority. There are many good reasons to make time to eat together as a family. © Baldwin Publishing, Inc.