Strategies to Cope with Holiday Eating

Sparkpeople is an online healthy living community and offers a host of tips for dealing with holiday eating.  The article below was written for them by Becky Hand, RD.


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Everyone was eating….even the mouse!

The most wonderful time of the year is back, and that means one thing:  notorious holiday parties!  Between the office buffet, neighborhood open house, family gatherings, religious festivities, and community get-togethers, sticking to a healthy eating plan becomes, well, difficult to say the least.

The reason?  Tempting, high fat, calorie-laden dishes are the common denominator of almost every holiday celebration.  And excuses for overindulgence are as easy to find as holiday cheer.

Check out the following excuses.  If any of them sounds familiar, here are some strategies to help you deal with these excuses and still enjoy the holiday season:


Excuse #1:  The food looks and tastes so good!  How can I resist?

It’s true – there will be plenty of terrific foods.  But will you feel good after you eat them?  Imagine yourself overindulging.  How do you feel afterwards?  Was the taste really worth it?  Could you have received the same pleasure with a smaller amount?

Excuse #2:  It’s a special occasion.  It only cones once a year.

The holidays only come once a year, but the parties, events, and gifts of food never seem to end!  Stop and decide which ones are really worth the splurge.  When it comes time for the splurge, bank calories from earlier in the day.

Excuse #3:  Everyone else is eating.  The hostess will be offended.

Just because everyone is eating does  not mean that you have to eat everything, too.  Choosing smaller portions shouldn’t offend anyone.  Remember, “If you half-it, you can have it.”  And sometimes it may be necessary to “just say no.”

Excuse #4:  I should offer desserts to the company in my home.

Keeping your favorite desserts at home usually spells trouble.  When treats are in the house, more of the dessert usually ends up in you,  rather than in your guests. 

Excuse #5:  I’ll get back to my healthy eating plan tomorrow.

This thinking is okay as long as it is realistic.  Make sure an occasional splurge does NOT become a repeated excuse (or turn into “next week” or “next month”).