Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Healthy (or not) Holidays to You!

Are you sick and tired of listening to dietitians like me preach about "watching your portions" and "eating more fruits and veggies" over the holidays? If so, don't read any further, and just check out this article that I (somewhat secretly) really enjoyed. And if you want to read some tips for maintaining your weight and sticking to your health and wellness goals over the holidays, please read on!

I told myself that the moment I heard holiday music playing at work I would post my tips on dodging holiday weight gain. Well, I'm a bit late ( I heard holiday music over two weeks ago ) but I couldn't bring myself to post this the first week of November! I love the holidays, I just don't like celebrating them prematurely.

So, during the next couple months we will be surrounded by heavy carb-loaded dishes and desserts.......

As if our everyday food environment wasn't bad enough, this next month (or two) is about a million times worse! How in the world does one prevent that average 1-2 pound weight gain each year? I'm not going to re-write a post I already wrote, so if you'd like to read some great blogger tips on dodging holiday weight gain, check out my post from last year at this time.

If you have food-pushers in your family (and you know who they are!), you will love this post from another blogger on how to deal with them. The one tip I will add this year is that you should be thankful for, and take advantage of the new, very simple ChooseMyPlate logo, which can help you put together a pretty delicious and filling plate on Thanksgiving and at any other dinner/lunch party you attend during the holidays.

Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, one-fourth lean protein, and one-fourth a grain (preferably a whole grain). I realize the plate above uses a sweet cranberry salad as a fruit, and the starchy sweet potato as the grain, but on Thanksgiving you may need to make a few modifications :)

If you plan on going back for seconds, I always suggest getting more lean protein (such as white turkey) and non-starchy vegetables (such as the asparagus above, or green beans).

As a registered dietitian my goal is not to take the fun out of the holidays and prevent people from enjoying good food and being merry. But really, the holidays are a time for family, friends, fun, giving, and being thankful for all that we have, and we should try to take the focus off of food. I hope this holiday season you get to spend lots of time with your friends and family, and most importantly you have fun and live in the moment. The holidays are long, but they go by fast! Enjoy them.

And if enjoying the holidays means a little indulgence..... (Below is Nick's first plate from last year's Christmas dinner). I suppose I can be ok with that!

After all, I can't deny that I may have had more than one of these.....

QUESTIONS: Let's depart from the idea of "healthy holidays" for a second. What's the one dessert you look forward to most during this time? For me it's chocolate dipped waffle cones, rocky road fudge, Christmas ale, and pecan pie!

What are you thankful for this holiday season? I'm thankful for the fact that both Nick and I have a stable job and income. We're blessed to have the ability to go to a job that we love each and every day. And I really never forget that.



  1. RAIINBOW COOOOKIEEES! well actually any kind of bakery cookie haha. i can't wait i'm going there to pick them up today and the best part? they leave an open tray on the counter to help you decide! FINE. BY. ME. i mean i know its probably one of the dirtiest things to do but still it's how i build immunity during the winter.

    at the holidays i always make sure to fill up my plate with greens and then take smaller portions of the 'treatsie' like dishes i just want a taste of everything but to me it's all about the desserrrrrt :)

  2. Look forward to Egg Nog, thankful for my health, for my kids/husband, for so much really. Thanks for the tips Gina.

  3. Pumpkin pie for sure. With whipped cream please! Good visual with My Plate. My family and I try to go on a hike every Thanksgiving before we eat, which helps a little with the calorie burn :-). Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. I love my mother in-laws apple pie! it's truly incredible and worth every stinkin' calorie haha happy thanksgiving gina....from one dietitian to another :)

  5. I love the gluten free cake that the local bakery makes. YUM!

    I am thankful for my family. It has been an amazing year of firsts and I want to keep the momentum going.

  6. I'm kind of sick of all the articles on holiday weight gain too lol I like to enjoy these seasonal foods, but not over indulge and I'm not afraid to say sorry but I don't want another helping of your -- aunt -- :) I'm so thankful to have found a stable job recently and to be near graduation (if everything goes well with grad college approval). I'm so blessed for my family and friends and all they do. I'm really looking forward to stuffing and leftovers. But after 14 days of eating out, having dessert, and drinking wine I think it will be pretty easy for me to take it easy this holiday season :) Have a great Thanksgiving Gina!

  7. My favorite holiday dessert is that gharadelli peppermint bark, yum :) I just ate a piece a minute ago in fact haha.

    This time of the year I actually am happy my stomach is not the best- gives me a great excuse against food pushers that usually gets them off my case and let's me enjoy a little bit of the holiday food but not go totally crazy :)

  8. I'm not all that excited about thanksgiving food, but I know I'll splurge on a few glasses of wine, and I'm sure I'll burn some calories dodging the food pushers :)
    Each year, I do a Maintain Don't Gain campaign at one of my corporate clients, and for the past three years they actually netted a weight loss (of just a couple pounds) over the holidays!

  9. What a fascinating, weird, slightly disturbing article! :-)

    I always look forward to your sensible holiday posts... Love the way you converted choose my plate into a Thanksgiving version! :-) Choose my plate is such a great resource - I mention it to people all the time... :-)

  10. I'm thankful for having a job that i really enjoy, friends who I really like, a husband who's an angel sent by God and parents being healthy and with me at the moment!
    all of these I really appreciate!!!

  11. Happy Thanksgiving!!! My favorite dessert this time of year is pretty much anything that involves pumpkin :)

  12. Hope you and Nick have a fantastic Thanksgiving! (For me its pumpkin pie.)

  13. I was really looking forward to pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I had a slice, and now I'm "over" it.

    I'm very thankful for my family and friends.

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Gina!