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Staying on track: 5 healthy-eating strategies for the holidays

12/8/2015 by Rose Prissel, RDN, LD


Don't let the hustle and bustle of the holidays derail the progress you've made in adopting healthy eating and exercise habits. Remember, it's what you do 90% of the time that counts. Allow yourself to cheat a little, but only once a day. These strategies can help you stay on track. 

  • Be mindful. Wait to fill your plate until you see what's being offered, find your favorite foods and choose your indulgences. 
    • Savor your food and beverages: take small bites and sips, and notice how it tastes. Enjoy the moment. 
    • Control your environment at work and at home to reduce the risk of mindless eating. Move seasonal treats to the lowest traffic area and keep them in containers or tins. 
    • When satisfied, move away from the food table. 
    • Add fun games to the party as a distraction and to reduce eating. 
  • Pour wisely to reduce calories from punches, nogs and sweetened or alcoholic beverages. 
    • Use a slender glass rather than a wide one. 
    • Drink water after each non-water drink. 
    • Fill the glass with ice before pouring the high-calorie beverage. 
    • Choose water. Not only will it keep you refreshed and hydrated during our dry winter weather, but it also will give you a feeling of fullness. Add interest to water with crushed herbs such as mint or parsley or citrus wedges. 
  • Downsize your plate from a dinner to a salad or dessert plate. 
  • Practice saying, "No thank you," politely when food is offered, but you aren't hungry. 
  • Refresh your palate. Eating a sugar-free mint, brushing your teeth or chewing gum can reduce your desire to continue eating. 

Rose Prissel is a dietitian at Mayo Clinic working in pediatric and adult nutrition, with a focus on preventive care, sports nutrition and weight management.