Tips For Eating Healthy During The Holidays

november 2015 holidays

Written by Kari @ Kari Newsom Contributing Writer

 It’s that time of year again.

As a Health and Nutrition Coach, I always have people ask me for some tips on how to successfully celebrate special occasions without completely going off the deep end when it comes time to eat.

The first and most important thing I always tell people is this:


All to often we try so hard to do ‘the right thing’ about the whole ‘eating during the holiday’ issue, that we actually end up NOT enjoying this time of year.

Don’t do that anymore.  Eating healthy and making healthier choices isn’t about being miserable.  I promise.

There are a couple pointers I like to give people who don’t want to go crazy, over indulge and completely get off track with their healthy lifestyle.

If you are like the average person, this time of year {or any celebration for that matter} can be a challenging time.

My family typically eats extremely healthy,  BUT I don’t freak out and go crazy that I’m not getting my organic and fresh foods.  I am always thankful that someone would take the time to prepare a meal for us to enjoy – whether it’s considered ‘healthy’ in my book or not.  Since 98% of the time we eat extremely healthy and disciplined at home, I never feel guilty when those occasions arise where we aren’t able to eat that way. 

If there are certain foods that you absolutely cannot eat (if you have allergies or have celiac, etc.) then speak with the host for that day and explain your situation and ask if it would be okay if you brought some of your own items so you can still sit down and enjoy the meal with everyone else.  Many times you will find that the host may offer to make some dishes according to your needs.  If your eating preferences are just that, preferences, then it’s up to you to make smart choices while you are filling your plate. 

Here are a few tips that might help you out this Thanksgiving holiday:

1. Eat a Smaller Meal Beforehand

If you are prone to eating TONS of food and filling your plate to overflowing, then going back for seconds and thirds – try eating a small meal before you go to your Thanksgiving celebration.  It doesn’t have to be a rich meal, just a small meal that will help fill you up enough where gorging out on food doesn’t look so appealing to you!  You’ll still get to enjoy the food on the table, you just won’t be shoveling it all in your mouth like there’s no tomorrow.

2. Water

Drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before sitting down to eat can make a person feel full, so you won’t end up eating as much.

3. Self-Control

Make a decision to only have one plate of food, which means smaller portions of each item.  Not always easy, but your stomach will thank you for it once dessert time rolls around.

4. Mini Size It

If you are a dessert sampler like some {GUILTY], then don’t take full size servings of each dessert.  Cut in half, thirds or quarters so you can sample all the wonderful goodies, without consuming the amount of an entire pie or cake by the time you’re done.

5. Control Your Eyes

If your eyes are always bigger than your stomach, then it’s about discipline, discipline, discipline!  Just CONTROL yourself when filling your plate!!!  Yes, it smells so good and looks amazing and Aunt Susie’s mashed potatoes are the bomb, but you don’t need a mountain of food to enjoy all that goodness. 

Studies show that the first couple bites of food are the most intense and satisfying – taste wise.  Even with amazing desserts, the more bites you take, the magnitude of it’s greatness starts to taper down a bit after the first few bites.

6. Going Back

Are seconds bad?  I don’t think so, as long as your first servings weren’t gi-normous to begin with. Just remember that you don’t need to over do it!  When your body tells you to stop eating – then STOP EATING!

7. Enjoy The Company

Make a conscious effort to enjoy the people around you.  Aren’t we all gathering on Thanksgiving (or whatever celebration) to spend time with each other?  Yes, so enjoy your company, engage in conversation, laugh and CHEW SLOWLY.  This is a guarantee that you won’t eat as much when you talk with people and give your food a chance to settle and your brain is told that you’re full (this usually takes about 15-20 minutes to occur.)

8. Chew Chew Chew

Along with chewing slowly, we should all chew each bite 20-30 times before swallowing completely!  I know you think I sound crazy, but you will reduce the amount of food you eat by quite a bit.  Why?  Since you’re taking the time to chew your food purposely, you won’t be gulping down large portions every 5 seconds and by the time you’ve been eating for 15-20 minutes and your body is saying ‘STOP, I’M FULL’ – you won’t have consumed nearly as much food.  Also, chewing this many times is the most important part of digestions since it breaks down your food to a point that once it hits your stomach, your stomach won’t need to work so hard to continue the digestion process.

9. Nix Tons of Liquids While Eating

Try not to drink a ton of liquid while you are eating.  The reason is because it dilutes your digestive juices in your stomach and then it takes so much longer for your body to digest your food.  This can lead to you feeling so full that you feel sick to your stomach.  Give your food a chance to do its job once its in your body!

All in all, we need to demonstrate self control and we are more than capable of doing that! Take time to enjoy the food that has been prepared for you and enjoy the people surrounding you. These holidays have a purpose behind them, so focus on those purposes instead of making the food the center and most important aspect of the day.

Most importantly, when it comes to the food you eat, pray over your food and thank God for the nourishment to your bodies and protecting you from any harm. Thank Him for the family and friends that are surrounding you and the many blessings you have in your life. Thank Him for the life you have. If you are reading this, then you are alive! What a wonderful thing. On top of that, you can’t be reading this post without a computer, ipad or smart phone!  Be thankful! You are blessed! Now, be a blessing to others!

What simple things do you do during holiday celebrations to avoid over-indulging?

About Kari

Kari Newsom is a Colorado native who is married to her best friend and they have two children, a turtle and a pug and they live on 5 acres in a small town in Colorado. As a Certified Health and Nutrition Consultant, her passion is to educate people on the realities of living in divine health through simple instruction found in the Bible and through traditions passed down through the centuries. Her motto states: "Health Made Easy. A Life Worth Living." and she is spending everyday fulfilling this ministry God has given her. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, her Blog and Pinterest.


  1. Great tips! Heaven knows I need them!

  2. Love the tip to just try smaller portions of the desserts! Many desserts are too sweet to finish a whole portion anyway!

    And yes to focusing more on enjoying your company than stressing over food!

    Happy holidays!

    • Thanks! I hope you get a chance to try it! Then notice how many plates of half uneaten desserts remain laying around while you’ve enjoyed yours without overloading :o) Enjoy your holidays!

  3. These are great tips! #9 is great, I tend to only have a little kombucha to help get my digestion going. And #7 is so important, slowing down and remembering to enjoy what it’s all about.

    • Oooh, Kombucha is a great idea for digestion. Great thing is my entire family loves Kombucha and we just finished our first homemade batch :o) Embrace #7 – the best part!

  4. Great tips! I am prone to way overeating things that don’t make me feel good. It is really rough, and I know I need to work on it. I will keep these tips in mind as the holidays approach.

  5. Fabulous tips! I like the idea of just trying a small amount and then going back for seconds. It makes you more aware of food choices and to feel satisfied without pigging out. Love the digestive tips, too!

  6. Great tips! What I do these days is fill my plate with a decent amount of the main courses + sides (instead of heaping) and then wait until after I’m done to see if I’m still hungry. If I am, then good…I”ll go back for a bit more. But more often than not, especially if I’m eating slowly, I’m full by the time I’m done with the first plate. This is also a good way to prevent food waste or overeating to the point of feeling gross if you’re the type that likes to clean your plate (no matter what). Plus, you’ve got to save room for pumpkin pie, right? 😉

    • Absolutely! It’s so much easier this way, but sometimes it’s hard with all that food staring at you :o) And yes, leaving room for that pie is a good thing – haha! Enjoy this season!


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