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Holiday Eating 101

If gaining weight during the holidays is not on your wish list, read on.


You might be surprised to learn that the average American gains one to two pounds during the holidays. And those pounds tend to stick around — and accumulate — year to year.

The good news is, it’s not that difficult to avoid weight gain this season. It just takes some planning and, of course, a measure of self-control. Here are some tips to consider.

  • Start the day by eating a good breakfast. You’re more likely to stay full longer so you’re less likely to overeat later. In fact, don’t skip any meals, and consider choosing foods that are high in fiber but also lower in calories.
  • Try to get enough sleep during this busy time of year. Being sleep deprived can make it hard to control blood sugar. Some people crave sweets and foods high in fat when they haven’t gotten enough sleep.
  • Don’t forget about exercise.* Get out for a walk, ice skating or snowboarding, or stick to your gym routine.
  • Party smarter. Party time can present some real challenges — like buffet tables full of temptation. Keep your portions small; load up on salad, fruit and vegetables. Wait to make sure you’re really still hungry before going back for seconds.
  • Enjoy things in moderation. Concentrate on maintaining your weight rather than trying to lose. Save that goal for after the holidays.
  • Enjoy yourself. Spending time with family and friends, singing around the piano, and sharing stories and memories can fill you up in special ways — with zero calories involved.

*Disclaimer: If you’re pregnant, have been physically inactive or have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe for you.

By Laura Grathwol, Contributing Editor


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Enjoy guilt-free holiday celebrations. Accessed April 23, 2018.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Stay mindful with 4 tips for holiday eating. Accessed April 23, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five healthy eating tips for the holidays. Accessed April 23, 2018.

Last Updated July 11, 2018