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family guide to holiday eating

Healthy Happy Holidays to All: A Family's Guide to Holiday Eating

As the fall approaches we once again enter the whirlwind of the holiday season. From Halloween to the New Year there are many opportunities to celebrate, and these celebrations usually include all kinds of delectable delights. Indulge with a bit of wisdom. We would like to share a few tips to help keep the holidays healthy as well as happy ones!
Halloween:  Tips for Trick or Treating

  • Trade candy bars for small trinkets (kids aged 3+): key chains, pencils, stickers, markers, crayons, barrettes, costume jewelry, action figures, matchbox cars/trucks.
  • Trade candy for a special, pre-determined treat - a family outing (walk or hike, bike ride, fall foliage picnic, etc.), a toy, video, computer game/DVD, CD or music gift card,  money or gift certificate; a new outfit.
  • Give out small trinkets (ages 3+) or toys instead of candy to the children in your neighborhood.

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
Be Realistic: 

  • You can have treats in moderation and balance them with healthy choices
  • Instead of trying to lose weight during the holidays set a goal of weight maintenance.

Plan Ahead: 

Try not to arrive hungry/thirsty at a party; eat a light but filling snack (yogurt, fresh fruit, raw veggies with hummus, cheese stick, 1/4 cup of nuts, or ½ sandwich) and a glass of water to stay well hydrated before you leave for the holiday party.

Avoid Overeating: 

  • Stay at least an arm’s length away from the food table before and after eating to prevent nibbling
  • Choose small portions of your favorite foods and eat slowly; savor the flavor!
  • Wait a few minutes before going for seconds.  It takes 15 minutes for the signal to go from belly to brain to say, “hey wait, I’m pretty full!”
  • Keep track of nibbling - put a small portion of crackers or chips or pretzels on a plate and walk away from the bowl
  • If planning on dessert, take less starches at the main meal – fill your plate with salad and vegetables

Food Choices:

  • Try to choose more vegetables, fruits and whole grains
  • Limit fried foods
    Have dessert-but keep it small; and remember it’s nice to share!  You can always split a dessert with your friends or family

Physical Activity
Remember to move!Start a family tradition:

  • Take a walk between dinner and dessert
  • Have a game of flag football
  • Break out the croquet set
  • Toss a ball around
  • Enjoy holiday decorations by foot after a meal

-Heidi Quinn, MS, RD, LDN and
-Laurie Higgins, MS, RD, LDN, CDE