5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Healthy Holiday Eating

Leigh-Anne Wooten MS, RDN/LDN, FAND
Registered Dietitian


We’re full swing into the holiday season and with that comes worries of weight gain with the numerous parties, dinners, and get-togethers.  Media outlets love to quote random (an unsubstantiated) estimates of holiday weight gain to the effect of: did you know people can gain up to 5 pounds during the holidays?  But according to The New England Journal of Medicine, the average holiday weight gain is less than a pound, or .37 kilograms.  So, on that note, tip number 1 to maintain healthy habits during the holidays is quite simple:
  1. Relax and enjoy the season!

Appreciate and participate in the traditions, including food, and try not to feel guilty. Holidays are a part of our culture, whatever culture we come from, and food is an integral part of that culture.   If your normal day-to-day involves physical activity and healthy food choices, it really is ok to indulge a bit.  One special meal, one celebratory drink, some yummy holiday treats will not negate all the other healthy habits you consistently take part in.
That being said, the night after a special event can have some people feeling a little lethargic and not quite ‘on their game’.  If this rings true for you, try these tips:
  1. Start your day with a nutrient-dense breakfast.

Focusing on morning meals that contain a balance of protein, healthy fat, and fiber, like this delicious chia pudding, not only provide the body with sustained energy, but also feed it the nutrients it requires to function optimally.  This recipe is perfect because it contains not only chia seeds, but also chia milk so you get a double dose of protein, healthy fat, and fiber plus an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  1. Include fruits and veggies on your party plate.

When you’re at a gathering that includes food, while you certainly can enjoy whatever they have to offer, the fiber from fruits and vegetables will help fill you up and slowdown that desire to munch while chatting with friends and family.  And if you’re the one hosting or in charge of bringing a side dish, try recipes like this eggplant hummus that are made with veggies, can be served with veggies, and has the added nutritional punch from SOW chia oil.  Did you know that chia is the most abundant source of plant omega-3 fat and chia oil is an excellent source of this essential nutrient? Chia oil is also high in phytochemicals (plant nutrients) that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  1. Stay hydrated.

Many of us, at one time or another, have had one too many cocktails at a festive holiday event.   Luckily, a big trend these days are zero-proof cocktails (drinks sans alcohol).  This is a great way to participate in the experience, without the dreaded headache and tiredness the next day.  And if you do decide to have an alcoholic beverage (which is totally fine.  Remember rule #1!), try alternating each drink with a glass of water. 
Beyond the actual events, the entire season can be hectic, making it hard to remember to stay hydrated, yet adequate hydration is crucial for the body to function optimally.  While water can certainly do the trick, feel free to experiment with other hydrating beverages that are a little more exciting to the palate like this chai chia latte or this banana and orange smoothie.  They’re not only light, refreshing, and hydrating, but your body will also benefit from the nutrient-dense star ingredient, chia milk.
  1. Incorporate physical activity into your day.

However you choose to stay physically active (gym time, bike riding, lifting weights, chasing your kids around), make sure to stick to it during the holidays. Keeping that body moving is one of the best ways to stay on track.  You can even create new traditions with family and friends by including some form of physical activity at your holiday gatherings. Get out there on the dance floor, play football before a big meal, or perhaps take a walk through your neighborhood after eating. 


Although food is an integral part of the holidays, try to balance it with an intentional focus on family and friends, laughter, and making memories.  And don’t forget it’s okay to indulge a bit too. Happy holidays!