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Your nutrition game plan for the holiday season

December 12, 2022 3 min read

Your nutrition game plan for the holiday season

The holidays are here again. A time filled with family gatherings, good times, and food – lots of food. And despite it being the most wonderful time of the year, it’s not exactly compatible with a healthy lifestyle as it can be disruptive to your health and fitness routines. 

While it’s also a great time to ease up on your diet and allow yourself to enjoy the holiday treats, it might be a good idea to come into the holidays armed with a plan to ensure you won’t go overboard and throw your progress out the window over the holiday break. 

So, here's our holiday feasting game plan:

1. Eat this, not that

Eating healthy doesn’t mean having to give up on your favourite holiday meals and treats. This is a great time to get creative. Take your delicious non-negotiable favourite holiday dish and see where you can swap ingredients for its healthier options! 

Try out healthier ingredient swaps like:

  • Non-fat plain Greek yoghurt in place of sour cream for dips and creamy dishes. 
  • Non-fat, 1% milk or buttermilk instead of cream or whole milk for mashed potatoes. 
  • Olive oil (EVOO) in lieu of butter to reduce saturated fat and add beneficial antioxidants 

A home-cooked holiday spread allows you to gain control over what’s in your meals as opposed to ordering out. Plus, this can be a fun and wonderful family activity altogether in the kitchen. 

2. Moderation, moderation, moderation

Moderation is an important aspect of healthy eating, and this is especially true during the holiday season. 

Be mindful of your portion sizes with these simple tips: 

  • Fill your plate with healthy food first like vegetables as they hardly hold any caloric value. 
  • Next, fit in your favourite dishes that you really love. 
  • Eat slowly. Take the time to savour each bite and appreciate the flavors and textures of the dishes you're eating. This can help you feel more satisfied with smaller portions and can also make the meal more enjoyable overall.  


3. Don’t starve yourself to save up for the big event

We’re all probably thinking it -

“Maybe if I skip meals before Christmas dinner, I can “save up” my calories.”

While this may sound like a good idea, it proves to be counterproductive. This is because when you skip meals, your body goes into starvation mode and starts to hold onto calories, which can make it harder to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. 

Additionally, when you’re faced with a decadent and oh-so-delicious spread of food whilst being starved, oh boy, you’re in big trouble. Skipping meals can lead to overeating which can negate any calories you might have saved by not eating earlier in the day. 

What to do: 

Instead of skipping meals, try to eat a balanced diet throughout the day, incorporating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. This will help to keep your energy levels up and prevent you from feeling overly hungry, which can lead to overeating. 

4. Prioritise your sleep

It can be silly to talk about having a sleep schedule over the holidays. Butstudies show thatsleep deprivedpeople with elevated“hunger hormones” called ghrelin end up eating more calories thanthewell-restedgroup. This is especially tricky over the holidays when you’re surrounded by an abundance ofhigher-fat, and high-sugar foods at parties. 

5. Find time for exercise

Finally,whilethis might not be a feasting and nutrition tip, finding time to still stay active like going for a quick run or training hard at the gym (if you’re local gym is open) is all that matters to prevent buildup of body fat. At the end of the day, it’s better to take a break from your dieting rather thanyour training.   


Enjoy the holidays and savour the food and festivities but entering the holidays with a game plan is a sure-fire way to come out strong for the new year and easily pick up where you left off. Don’t be too hard on yourself and worry about a bit of weight gain or for not having the time to be as active as you would like. When you go back to your regular training and eating routine, your body is sure to get back into business and dropping that weight. 

Kathleen Belleza

A wordsmith with a passion for health and wellness.

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