Healthy Tips for the Holidays

"The holidays are a great time of year for fun, spending time with your family, celebrating traditions, and reaching out to let others know we care," said Stacy Kolbash, a registered dietitian for the Brenner FIT program at Brenner Children's Hospital. "People can gain an average of 5-10 pounds over the holidays which can be physically and emotionally stressful."

Kolbash suggests taking a new approach this holiday season and work on one or more of the following tips: 

  • Control your hunger. Do not shop or go to parties on an empty stomach. Eat a healthy breakfast with fiber. If you will be shopping for several hours, take a piece of fruit or a small bag of nuts. 
  • Do not skip meals to "save for later." The 400 calories you skipped at breakfast will more than quadruple when you are overly hungry at a party/holiday meal. Eating smaller portions is a better strategy. 
  • Eat SLOWLY. Take small bites, chew well, and taste each bite. This works really well to make small bites of dessert satisfying. 
  • Bring some healthy items with you. Look at your favorite recipes and decide how they could be modified. Try fresh green beans with slivered almonds instead of green bean casserole or use low fat mushroom soup in your casserole. 
  • Decide what you really want to eat instead of over-loading your plate. If you are excited about Grandmother's pie, why not skip the roll and take a smaller scoop of potatoes? 
  • Don't forget the vegetables. At Brenner FIT, we aim for 5 fruits and vegetables each day. Offer to bring a vegetable tray and light dip, or a quick, inexpensive bean salad. 
  • If you are at a buffet, take a small plate and socialize away from the food. Keep your hands full so you have to think before grabbing an extra cookie.
  • Limit alcohol intake. The calories in these drinks add up quickly - decide ahead of time how many drinks you will have. Alcohol can also lower your restraint with food selections and increase your hunger.
  • If you are hosting, have extra containers to send leftovers home with your guests.
  • Share your food gifts. Take them to your next event, party or group meeting.
  • Maintain your activity routine. Wear a pedometer. Being busy does not always equal extra steps. 
Provided by staff who are part of Brenner FIT (Families in Training). Brenner FIT® is a pediatric weight management program at Brenner Children's that helps families create healthier lifestyles together. Brenner FIT offers free cooking, nutrition and parenting classes.