Happy Holiday Eating

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Duke Student Health Nutrition

Thumbnail It’s the end of the semester– chances are you’ve adapted pretty well to your school eating routines by now – whether it’s eating with friends or grabbing a bite on the way to the next class or meeting. But wouldn’t you know it, the holidays are just around the corner and everything is about to change again.  The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but they are usually associated with a lot of food and eating: for some this can be challenging. Consider using some of the following tips to stay well and focused during this time. 

  1. Set reasonable goals. This usually isn’t the time of year to work on any type of weight loss goals, so aim instead to maintain your weight.
  2. Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals may sound like a good idea when there is a big holiday meal to look forward to, but chances are if you skip meals you will be really hungry when its meal time and will likely overeat. About an hour before you head out, try to eat a light, balanced snack, such as a piece of fruit with some yogurt or peanut butter, a granola bar, half of a sandwich, or some soup. 
  3. Choose your foods wisely: There will be plenty of options, but if you’re trying to choose more nutritious options, opt for the fresh vegetables and fruit, lean protein, and seafood. This will allow room for a holiday dessert!
  4. Mindful Eating: If you are concerned about overeating, remember to eat slowly and savor these special holiday foods – some of which you only get to eat once a year. Eating slowly will allow you to appreciate these foods and recognize when you have had enough. Some useful tips to help you eat more slowly are to have a conversation with a friend or family member, take smaller portions, and consciously sip your drink throughout. (These are great tips year-round!)
  5. Eat a balanced meal: Aim for a good source of protein, such as turkey, chicken, fish or tofu, and balance this with a healthy starch, such as whole grain bread, sweet potatoes or brown rice and lots of veggies. The protein slows digestion to help you feel satisfied faster and longer.
  6. Chill out: Try not to get stressed out by family and friends you haven’t seen in a while. Try to manage your stress with activities other than eating – take a walk, visit a friend, or put on some music.
  7. Be active: You may find being home for holidays allows you more time to move – try to be active most mornings before the day gets too crazy. A brisk walk or stroll will help with digestion, stress relief, and fitness. Remember, if you wish to continue exercising regularly, it will need to fit into your routine at school.
  8. Enjoy: remember being home for the holidays usually means no homework and time to rest! Focus on your friends and family and try to not over-think your food. However, don’t overdo just because you have more time.

For more information check out our Happy Holiday Eating Tips !