Weight Management: Celebrating Your Health During the Holidays

When you plan ahead, you can have a healthy holiday season and still reach your healthy-weight goals.

It can help if you try not to think of the holidays as a time to give up things you enjoy. Instead, think of it as a time to give yourself something you want more—to reach your healthy weight.

Here are some ideas that may help you stay on track and still be festive.

Tempting ideas to stay healthy

From buffet tables to candy dishes, every holiday serves up tasty reasons to slip. These strategies may help you through the holidays and after.

  • Have a healthy snack before you go. What's your favorite healthy snack? Popcorn, fresh fruit, or nuts are a few ideas. When you feel full, you are less likely to overeat later.
  • Bring a healthy dish. What dish makes you feel guilt-free? Grilled fish, steamed vegetables, brown rice, or a spinach salad are good options. Not only would you have a food you love at the table, but your host may appreciate the contribution.
  • Save second helpings for later. Wouldn't that extra serving taste just as good tomorrow? A piece of cake or that delicious turkey can be frozen. You might enjoy it even more a month from now, when holiday treats aren't so available. And having it then can remind you how well you took care of yourself.

Those are ideas that have worked for others. What might work for you?

My healthy eating strategy:

A new tradition: Healthier holidays

Maybe you could start some healthy new traditions—ones that don't involve eating. Here are some you could try:

  • Volunteer with family and friends. What's a cause that you care about? Food banks, animal shelters, or other nonprofit organizations can use your help.
  • Join a community walk/run. Is this something you could do as a family or with friends? Walking as a group for a good cause can strengthen the bond you have with others.
  • Make the time together count. What would make a gathering more meaningful? Playing games, putting a puzzle together, or reading a favorite book out loud are some things you can do with a group of friends or family.

Those are just a few ideas. Maybe they'll help you think of other things to try that could be the start of a healthier holiday tradition.

My ideas for a new tradition:

Before the guests arrive or you head out to the festivities, take a little time for yourself to regroup, recharge, and renew.

Here are a few ideas that might help you enjoy the holidays and stay with your plan:

  • Eat mindfully. What's the rush? Eat slowly and taste every bite. When you take the time to eat mindfully, you can enjoy the gifts that healthy foods offer to your body and mind.
  • Sleep in. Why not? When you have the sleep you need, you will have the energy you need to stick to your healthy-eating plan.
  • Be kind to yourself. Feeling the stress of the holidays? It's okay to disappear for a few minutes to sit, close your eyes, and take in a few deep breaths. When you're relaxed, you may be better able to handle the stresses that could get you off track.

You may have other ideas.

My ideas for feeling more joy and less stress:

A healthy holiday plan

How can you make this holiday season one that you can celebrate and feel good about? If you like, use the space below to write your plan.

What might keep me from eating in a healthy way during the holidays: Things I can do to stay with my healthy-eating plan:

Example: Aunt Helen will insist that I have a big slice of pie for dessert.

Example: I'll offer to slice the pie. I'll cut a smaller piece for me and skip the whipped cream.