Food (and lots of it) takes center stage during this time leaving some feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Don’t let the spirit of the holidays get the best of you especially if your goal is to maintain your healthy eating habits without seeming anti-social.

{HTP} The holidays are always a mad rush. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, traveling. What are some good healthy snacks I can have with me during the busy holiday season?

{Stephanie} Things that pack both carbohydrate and protein are ideal options, but when you can’t mix and match, these items are great on their own too.

  • Apples, bananas, even oranges. Carrots, celery sticks, sliced peppers, broccoli, or other cut up raw veggies. If you can swing it, some nut butter with your apple, banana, or celery or some hummus with your veggies adds some protein to help fill you up.
  • A serving of nuts or a granola bar (watch out though as some granola bars can be high in calories AND sugar).
  • A string cheese.
  • A low-fat or non-fat yogurt of the Greek or higher protein varieties are also great options. My vote is always for a plain flavored variety because the sugar content will be significantly lower, and add your own flavorings like a little scoop of nut butter or berries.

{HTP} What tips can you share for a healthy holiday season of feasting?


  1. Be sure to have a snack and/or glass of water before meals and parties to avoid feeling very hungry when you show up. Try and eat some of the healthier options first before going in for the other dishes.
  2. Practice mindfulness – have a reasonable portion of what you really want and take the time to really enjoy it.
  3. If you are asked to provide a dish or know the person hosting well enough to offer, bring a healthier dish that you know you’ll want to add to your plate. If it’s the only plate of fresh veggies on the table, at least there will be one for you to eat from and to share with your friends and family.
  4. Be careful with alcohol and other beverages – liquid calories do not fill you up and alcohol will lower your self-control.
  5. Do your best to stay well rested and incorporate physical activity when you can. These are just as important as your food choices!

{HTP} If I’m craving a dessert, what should I look for on the holiday table?

{Stephanie} Look for the ones you want the most – your definite yes’s. Have those first, take the time to really enjoy them (this is where being mindful can play a big role), take a break, drink some water, then decide if that second piece of pie or brownie still sounds as good. If there are two that you just can’t pass up, find someone to share with!

{HTP} Our staff holiday party usually consists of lots of heavy dishes, creamy dips, fried foods and lots and lots of desserts. Any suggestions on what I can do before I attend the party so I don’t over-do it?

{Stephanie} Eat a snack before you go! If you’re on the go from one holiday chore or event to another, keep a snack in the car. The key is to not show up at that table/party starving. When you’re really hungry, everything will look and sound amazing. You’ll be hungry and you’ll want it all and a lot of it! Curbing your appetite before you go means you will show up and be better able to pick out the things you want the most and to only have one serving.

At the party, if you are feeling really hungry, try filling your plate with the healthier items first – salads, veggies, fruits, etc. Eat these first before digging in to those more seasonal treats and special items being offered so you aren’t acting on an empty stomach.

Nothing should be “off-limits” in these situations (unless, of course, you have true food allergies or intolerances). We wait all year to have some of these special foods and to do it with friends and loved ones so the key is to not over-do it by picking the ones you want the most, having a reasonable portion, and taking the time to really enjoy them.

Everyone’s healthy eating goals look different so planning ahead and picking strategies that are right for you are the best ways to stay well and not overdue it during the holidays.