Healthy Holiday Eating

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!  

Budget Bites for Family Meals Month

Did you know that September is National Family Meals Month? If not, check out our initial blog post on what Family Meals Month means here and find four super-fast meal ideas here.

We know that fast and delicious meals are a must for time-strapped families. We also know that for many shoppers, budget is top of mind. Contrary to popular belief, healthy and delicious shopping on a budget is 100% possible. With just a few tips you can become a savvy shopper.

1. Keep a well-stocked pantry.

Keep your kitchen filled with staple foods that are generally inexpensive. A well-stocked pantry means a good meal is never far away. With the staples listed below you could have chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables, or oatmeal with milk and fruit, or tuna salad sandwiches, or pasta with marinara sauce, or scrambled eggs and toast — you get the idea!

• Potatoes

• Onions

• Garlic

• Squash

• Broccoli

• Carrots

• Bananas 

• Apples

• Raisins

• Canned tomato

• Beans

• Peanut butter

• Peanuts

• Eggs

• Chicken

• Canned tuna

• Yogurt

• Milk

• Rice

• Pasta

• Oats

• Bread

2. Have some kind of plan.

It can be loose or structured, just so long as you have a plan for when dinner time rolls around. Here are some favorite tips from the Harmons team:

• Have a menu plan: keep recipes, shopping lists, and coupons together to make it easier

• Know what you have. “Shop” your own pantry for immediate savings!

• Clip coupons to get the best price. The Harmons app makes it easier than ever.

• Pack your own lunch for work.

3. Look at the weekly ad and build your plan around what’s on sale and in-season as these items are the best value.

This week’s sales run from Sept. 11 – 17. Here are some meal ideas using current ad items:

Zoodles with Meat Sauce – Zoodles are 20% off this week, and use ground beef ($2.99/lb) in place of the chicken.

Turkey Chili  – Use turkey thighs ($2.99/lb) to make a large pot of this chili and enjoy it for several meals over the week.

Pot Roast – Use sale items boneless rump roast ($3.49/lb) and baker potatoes ($0.33/lb) to make pot roast in your slow cooker or instant pot for a hands-off meal.

4. Learn to love the prep.

Preparing foods yourself will help you save money. Eating out is a huge budget buster, even if it’s fast food. Check out this example:

Family of 4 eating out at common burger fast food chain:

4—$1 burgers + 4 small fries + 4 small sodas = $13.56 (680 calories/person) which is 2 cents per calorie.

Family of 4 Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Dinner from Harmons:

1 lb. chicken thighs + 4 Yukon golds + 2 lbs. broccoli + 2 tbsp. olive oil + 1 lemon + 1 tsp. each salt & pepper=$9.29 at Harmons (505 calories/per person) which is 1.8 cents per calorie.

Other ideas to save money using a little bit of prep:

• Choose whole produce and chop your own.

• Don’t be afraid of canned and frozen produce. They can be cheaper at certain times of year, and frozen is just as nutritious as fresh. Just watch out for sodium and added sugar.

• Buy in bulk. You avoid waste and save.

• Choose plant-based protein at least once a week. Eggs, peanuts, and beans are much cheaper than any meat options.

• Skip soda. It’s a budget and health buster.

• Cook your own grains and beans.

• Freeze food before it goes bad in the back of the refrigerator; this provides quick, easy meals for the future.