Healthy Holiday Eating

November 2, 2021
| Created by Joy Phillips RDN, CD

Holidays are a magical time filled with family, friends, and food. But it can also be a time where you struggle with weight gain and unhealthy eating. Here at Harmons, we believe it is possible to enjoy the holidays and, with a little bit of mindfulness, maintain healthy habits. Below are our ideas for combining the joy of the season with healthy eating.  

Portion control

Overeating can be a tempting trap this time of year. With so many tasty optionsit’s easy to fill up your plate. One of the best strategies to avoid excess is to start small, for example, try using a smaller plate. This external cue allows you to enjoy all the food but in smaller more appropriate portion sizes. It is better to get seconds if you are still hungry than to try and push yourself to finish an overfull plate.  

Load up on veggies

It is recommended that half your plate is fruits and veggiesWith so many delicious vegetables side dishes available this time of year, why not take advantage and load up on veggies? Baked or roasted veggies can be tasty and healthy option. Roasted green beans, Brussel sprouts, or sweet potatoes can be used in place of less healthy and highcalorie foods like green bean casserole or candied sweet potatoesBe sure to check out Dietitian Genevieve’s blog on what’s in season.  


Many holiday dishes are high in saturated fat and sodium which should be limited in a healthy diet. Here are some ways to reduce them while still enjoying your favorite foods:  

  • Add Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in dishes 
  • Make homemade vinaigrette instead of using store-bought dressings 
  • Use fresh herbs to add flavor which reduces the need for added salt 
  • Replace butter with oil in your cooking  

Be picky about your beverages

There are so many tasty drinks this time of year, including eggnog, pumpkin spice lattes, and festive holiday cocktails. While beverages can be a great complement to your meals, they can alsadd extra calories with little to no nutritional benefit. Be picky about where you choose to spend your calories. Consider choosing smaller size drinks or better yet, substituting water. If you need a drink more exciting than watersubstituting sparkling water for alcohol is an easy way to still have a fun drink. Here is a great recipe for a mocktail.  

Stay active

Remaining active is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and promoting overall wellnessAs the weather turns cooler, consider trying indoor activities. Rock climbing, yoga, or fitness classes are great winter options. If those are not your style, never underestimate the power of a simple walk– it’s one of the best ways to stay active. It’s also an excellent time to socialize and connect with friends, family or your furry companions.

Healthy eating even during the holidays is all about balance. Enjoy your food. Spend time with the ones you love. Treat your body kindly. By allowing for a little mindfulness in the amount and way that you eat, it is possible to participate in holiday festivities and remain health conscious. Happy eating!