Holiday Eating – 9 Simple Rules

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By: Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSCS

The holidays are here with so many temptations of tasty treats and heart warming cooking coupled by the cold weather which makes you less motivated to get out there and exercise. Here are 9 simple rules to support in your journey of not being another weight gain statistic during this holiday season.

Is it possible to not gain weight during the holidays? Most certainly! Is it difficult? Absolutely! This is the challenge that the holidays present to us from a nutrition standpoint. Food is social and the food during the holiday season is ever so delicious!

In your quest of maintaining your weight in the upcoming months, I have included nine, what I call, “nutrition nibbles” to help you make beneficial choices during this holiday season.

1.  Be metabolically efficient.

Be sure to balance your blood sugar by eating a source of protein, fiber and fat at almost all meals and snacks.  This will help you control your hunger and improve your energy levels during the holidays.

2. Move it or gain it!

Stated another way…be physically active. The more you can stay with your set exercise program the better. If you don’t have one or you are traveling and you will not have equipment, simply take frequent walks with family and friends. The more the merrier!

3. TOO frequent or not TOO frequent…that is the question!

During the holidays, reduce the amount of times you eat IF you think you will overindulge in food.

4. Be confident in condiment choosing! Just say no!

Many condiments have many hidden calories. Enjoy the taste of the food more than what you put on it.

5. Don’t be a fish out of water. Stay hydrated!

For purposes other than just being healthy, water can help your brain think that your stomach is full so you may not eat as much during meals.

6. Are your eyes bigger than your stomach? Slow down with one plate!

Use the one plate rule. Fill one plate and make one trip to the food table only. Know your limits before going in and stick to it.

7. Fill your tank ¼ full before going to your destination.

Sometimes it helps to eat a little something before going to a party so that you do not end up overeating because you are hungry. It is the same principle as not going to the grocery store when you are hungry.

8. Make a plan. It’s all about EXECUTION!

If you know what you are going to do before going to a party, you can execute it much better than not having a plan beforehand. Make a healthy plan and execute it.

9. Have 3 sticks of gum with you at all times. Chew away temptations!

Sometimes, we just need something to chew on so gum is a great alternative if you have already filled up with your one plate.

Of course, the true meaning of holidays is to be with family and friends so enjoy this time more than the food that is served.


Bob Seebohar is a Sports Dietitian/Exercise Physiologist specializing in sports nutrition, weight loss and nutrition periodization programs. Applying his expertise as a 2008 Olympic Sport Dietitian, USA Triathlon Elite Triathlon Coach, USAT Triathlon Youth and Junior Triathlon Coach and NSCA Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Note: This article originally was published in June of 2006 but the concepts still apply today!

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