Eat Healthy And Still Be Merry This Season

Healthy holiday food.For most Americans, the holiday season is a feasting season, a time to savor the tradition of sharing wonderful meals and sweet treats with family and friends. Making healthy food choices at this time of the year is challenging.

According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in a weight gain of one to two pounds. Over the course of a lifetime, those extra pounds can really add up.

The holidays don’t have to be a time to gain weight. With a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun, you can enjoy the season without regret.

  • Be realistic. Don’t plan to lose weight during the holidays. Focus on maintaining your current weight.
  • Get moving. Exercise helps to relieve holiday stress and can help partially offset increased holiday eating.
  • Plan ahead. Every holiday table features a wide variety of food so choose healthy foods first. Offer to make a healthy dish to share with family and friends.
  • Eat before you feast. Avoid arriving at a party famished so you aren’t tempted to overeat. Eat a little something beforehand and drink one or two glasses of water to feel fuller.
  • Avoid temptation. Position yourself far away from the buffet table, and focus on spending time with family and friends instead of the food.
  • Change it up. Use ingredient substitutions to make your favorite recipes healthier. For example, ditch the fat in dips and dressings by using fat-free or low-fat yogurt instead.
  • Stuff the turkey, not yourself. Sit down, relax, and enjoy smaller portions of your favorite holiday treats. Eat just until you are satisfied.

If you do overindulge, get back on track the next day with lighter meals. Remember: It takes 500 calories a day (3,500 a week) above your normal consumption to gain a pound. Just something to think about when you’re tempted to overindulge.

Sources: American Diabetes Association, National Institutes of Health

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA