Eat Healthy This Holiday Season

By: Trisha Cousins, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N., and Caroline Passerrello, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N.

Eating smart during the holidays can be a challenge, but it is possible to stay healthy by eating mindfully. While it is easy to over-indulge in an array of traditional treats, these helpful eating tips can prioritize your health this holiday season.

Focus on family

If maintaining healthy behaviors during the holidays is a priority, focus on the family and not the food. Plan conversation starters, trivia questions or fun activities that take the focus off food.

Plan portions

Because there are so many delicious options, take smaller portions, a half cup or less, of several different foods and go back for a little more if desired. Choosing a smaller plate at mealtime helps to encourage proper portion sizes.

Prioritize and enjoy

It is not necessary to eat everything that is served. Pick the foods that are special and skip foods like dinner rolls that are eaten regularly. Eat slowly to savor each bite.

Walk away

Invite friends and family to walk briskly after dinner to burn off extra calories before enjoying dessert.

Clean up quickly

Leaving the food out after the meal is over leads to grazing, even though the calorie needs for the meal, or even the day, have already been met. In addition, food left at room temperature longer than two hours is at increased risk for bacteria that can lead to illness.

Keep these tips in mind for a happy and healthy holiday season.


About the Authors
Trisha Cousins and Caroline Passerrello are both registered dietitian nutritionists in the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Department of Sports Medicine & Nutrition. Cousins is an instructor and clinical coordinator for the Coordinated Master in Nutrition and Dietetics program and Passerrello is a part time instructor.