Friday, November 19, 2010

Foodie Tips On Dodging Holiday Weight Gain

Is this what your plate looks like during the holidays?

Ok, so maybe it's not packed full of pancakes, but is it over-stuffed with pies, stuffing, cookies, and other holiday foods?? Today's post contains some great tips from some of my favorite foodie bloggers on how to get through the holidays without packing on the pounds!

My last post ended with an introduction to my "Healthy Holiday Challenge". In case you missed it, please check out my post! I asked you all to leave a comment telling me some of your best tips for keeping off those extra pounds over the holidays (or if you are like me and are not trying to lose weight, or necessarily even maintain weight, you may have left some tips on how to relax and not over-indulge/binge at parties, which is important for everyone, no matter what their age and size!). Your responses were fantastic. I have added my own comments to some of them. Here they are in no particular order.

Andrea of Andrea's Wellness Notes:

- Eat a healthy snack/mini meal before going to a holiday party so you won't overeat (** This is so important. I would even suggest this on a regular bases when you are planning to go to dinner. This prevents you from getting to that point where you are so hungry that you will eat just about anything in sight!**)

- At holiday parties, engage in conversations away from the food table. That way you are less likely to mindlessly reach for food.

- Don't wear baggy clothes! (** I love this one!! Typically when I go to a holiday party I do the opposite. I wear baggy clothes so I don't feel uncomfortable after eating a ton of food. However, wearing tight clothes would probably impede my ability to continue eating once I'm full. Such great advice! **)

- If you are not sure there will be healthy options, offer to bring a dish. (** I always do this, even if I do know there will be healthy options. I love to show my friends and family that healthy food can taste good too! In fact, this Thanksgiving I plan on bringing this savory pumpkin quinoa stuffing, created by Evan**)

Summer of

- Choose your treats mindfully. Pass on the everyday nuts and chips and indulge in a moderate amount of a holiday favorite! (**Such a good point. Why eat a bunch of the salted peanuts in the dish on the table when you can eat those any day of the week?? Eat foods that are only available during the holidays! And, enjoy every bite!**)


- To help me not gain weight over the holidays, I try to focus on portion control. I don't want to deprive myself of trying all of the yummy foods at holiday get-togethers, so I try a little of all the things I think look or smell good!

of Food.Fun.Fabulous

- If I know a day is going to be indulgent (like Thanksgiving) I try to start out with a healthier breakfast like fruit and yogurt and get a workout in asap!

Krista of Krista's Kravings

- My one downfall over the holiday's is chocolate so I ask my family not to buy me any at all. (** I think this is important. On that same not, raise your hand if you get cookie trays for the holidays as a gift. I DO! While I appreciate the hard work that went into the cookie tray, I often will just take that with me to my next party so it's not sitting in our house waiting to be eaten. On that same note, I try to give healthy gifts to my friends and family because giving a cookie tray is such an easy way to sabotage a healthy diet plan! This year I plan on giving out pumpkin butter, which Joanna posted some time in October**)

Kelly of She Wears a Red Sox Cap

- The key for me is to only eat like it's a holiday ON the actual holiday and not in all the days around each one!

Gina of The Candid RD (yep, that's me!)

- Take advantage of the desserts or side dishes with fruit and/or veggies. Cranberries are a special holiday food, so indulge! Even if they are packed with sugar, at least you are getting some health benefits from the berries (the phytonutrients in cranberries may actually keep bacteria from attaching to bladder cells, which may help prevent UTIs).

Anything with pumpkin, sweet potato, or other squash is a good choice. My aunt made a low sugar pumpkin pudding/mousse last year, which I thought tasted delicious.

- Eat slow! I can remember one Thanksgiving when I ate so fast that I was finished before everyone else. It was embarrassing. Of course I felt obligated to go get more food so I wouldn't be sitting there with an empty plate. Awkward. Now I eat much slower, and put my utensils down between each bite.

Question: When you are at a holiday party, or holiday dinner, what is the one food item in which you will allow yourself to indulge? For me it's pecan pie! I will have my one plate of food (sometimes one and a half because I like to have seconds on the white meat turkey) and then I will hit the dessert table. I usually have a tiny piece of pumpkin pie (or pumpkin mousse form my aunt!) and a good-sized piece of the pecan pie with whipped cream. Then later in the day I may have a nice cup of flavored coffee.

**By the way, thanks to all who left me with some suggestions on a better bowl of overnight oats. In my last post I talked about my overnight oat disaster and I think after all of your suggestions I am bound to find a recipe I love! However, I'm still not keen on the cold oats, so I always have to heat them up in the morning :) **


  1. Haha, it looks like we were thinking on the same brain wave this morning...I posted a super similar post. :)

    I like your tip about the baggy clothes. Smart...who wants to be uncomfortable after eating?!

  2. Great tips! And I really went overboard that day on Twitter... ;) I think so much of making the holidays healthier is being mindful... It's so easy to just reach for food because the holidays can be a stressful time (which they really shouldn't be!).

    I will most definitely indulge in a piece of pumpkin pie! I have been wanting some forever...

  3. these are great tips! I haven't thought about food much lately so I can't contribute much. I guess I belong to the group of people who when gets busy and stressed out, just forget to eat well, that's why I got stomach pain! lesson learned.
    But I know what you mean by indulging during holiday seasons. To be honest, I just don't think about the issue anymore... I just eat whenever I feel like and stop when I am satisfied. Because what's more important than the food is the people, to be with the people we love so much. There's something wonderful about holiday seasons, to see family/friends that you can't see everyday! ;)

  4. Man, I am SO bad about holiday weight gain (as I've said before). I'm really trying to get a handle on it this year, so these tips are great. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Nice and timely. I am actually putting together a story right now for Philly Mag. of health and fitness experts' tips to maintaining your weight over the holidays! For me, I think eating breakfast and not skipping meals is key (especially if one or two cocktails are in store for later).

    My favorite indulgences: Mashed potatoes and gravy, and probably like yours, a nice slice of pie.

  6. Great tips. One other thing for holiday weight gain is to also have people aim for lower sodium because of the bloating. Plus weighing before may not be a bad idea. Many people get that slow 5-10 pound weight gain during the year and never really notice and then weigh themselves after the holidays and think they gained 10-30 pounds in just a few days. They may not have accounted for a higher weight. Although this can be depressing to find out you have gained weight before the holiday so it all depends on the person. Exercising regularly is probably the most important non-food related tip, followed by adequate sleep.

  7. Thanks for posting all these great tips! The one thing I indulge in over the holidays (which would be Christmas for me at this point) is dessert b/c my Mom makes her tiramisu and only does so at Christmas time. I can not deny myself that heavenly dessert for which she will not give me the recipe....and you know how Mom always makes it best, right? ;)

  8. I love all those holiday tips! I especially like the one about bringing a healthy dish to a party - there have been WAY too many times when I've been to a party full of cheese, pepperoni, and not much else! The tip about indulging on just the holiday day and not the days around them is great as well (I think I could use a little reminder about that as Thanksgiving approaches ;) ).

    My favorite holiday indulgence is my FIL's apple pie! He makes about two dozen of them for the holiday season, so I try not to go too crazy :)

    Have a great weekend, Gina!

  9. These are all great tips. I let myself have a little extra chocolate, especially chocolate peppermint :) I also go for seconds on stuffing, yum.

  10. Those are great tips. I love the one about wearing fitted clothes.

    I definitely allow myself to splurge on stuffing and pumpkin pie. Those are two of my favorites!!!

  11. oh, I love pecan pie but haven't had it in years. I can't remember the last time. At a holiday dinner I just try to have a little bit of everything I like and pass on anything I don't love. A little bit of each flavor is better than too much of one.

  12. Love all the tips! I just posted about the goodness of cranberries along with a pie recipe.

  13. cooookieeeeeeeees!! i always look so forward to these amazing rainbow cookies we buy from this local bakery! they're chocolatey and cream cheesey and i can't wait!

  14. I dont think we should worry about "holiday weight". This season comes around once a year and thats why you wear yoga pants to dinner! I think if you go in with a mind set that its all "indulgent" your not really enjoying the holiday. Besides, you'll probably burn it all off shopping the next day anyhow.

  15. These are great tips! Depending on what deserts are available, I'll choose one of those to indulge in.