United States Department of Veterans Affairs
 Health Care
Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season
Bundt cake with candles and pine bough
Stick to the dishes that look the most appetizing so you can enjoy the foods you like, and still leave room for dessert.

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is filled parties, family gatherings, and lots and lots of food! It can be hard to stick to healthy eating habits you’ve worked so hard to follow all year.

With so many food options to choose from, it can be difficult to avoid temptation. Here are some tips to help you avoid the dreaded weight gain during the holidays.

  • Never go to a party hungry. This will only cause you to eat more throughout the night. Try to have a small snack before attending so you aren’t ravenous when you arrive.
  • While standing around a buffet table, most people tend to take a little bit of everything. This may sound like a good plan, but it can quickly add up to more calories than you need. Your best bet is to stick to the dishes that look the most appetizing to you. This way you can enjoy the foods you like, and still leave room for dessert.
  • Remember to watch your portions. Meat should be about the size of the palm of your hand. Starches, including pasta, rice, and potatoes, should be no larger than the size of your closed fist. Try to fill your plate with fresh, healthy vegetables, which will help fill you up quicker, without adding too many calories.
  • Watch out for appealing sauces, gravies and dips. These items tend to contain a lot of fat and calories that will quickly add up.
  • Take caution with alcohol at parties. Many holiday drinks contain a lot of fat and calories that will quickly add unwanted pounds to your waistline. Stick with a 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. glass of wine, or a small cocktail made with fresh juice.
  • Try to get in some type of exercise the day of a holiday party. Even if you can only find 10 free minutes, it will be beneficial to burn some extra calories before you consume a lot of them.

During the holiday season, socialize and celebrate good times with friends and family. Remember to stick to your healthy eating plan so you don’t overindulge on things that will steer you off your path.

We wish you and your family safe, healthy, and happy holidays!

Related links:
  Nutrition and Food Services
  MOVE! Weight Management Program