Nutrition know-how for the holidays

With a little nutrition know-how, you can enjoy guilt-free traditional holidays. Christian Health Care Center’s Food and Nutrition Services offers the following tips to prevent holiday weight gain.


Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before the big feast. Increase your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast. On the holiday, make exercise a family affair by taking a walk after the big meal.

Don’t skip breakfast.
While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. A small but satisfying breakfast filled with protein and fiber may help ensure that you won’t be starving when you arrive for the holiday meal.

Cook lighter.
Make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. Use fat-free chicken broth to baste a turkey and make gravy. Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods. Reduce oil and butter wherever you can. And try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

All holiday foods are not created equal.
Some holiday foods are better choices than others. White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and defatted gravy tend to be lower in fat and calories.

Reduce portions.
Before filling your plate, survey the food selections, decide what you’re going to choose, and take a reasonable portions. Avoid wasting calories on foods that you can have all year long so you can have small portions of holiday favorites.

Decline a second helping.
Resist the temptation for a second helping. Besides, leftovers are much better the next day!

The registered dietitians of Christian Health Care Center can share their nutrition know-how with your group, school, or organization. Contact our Speakers Bureau at (201) 848-4463 or email

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