How to Make Healthy Choices Around the Holidays

November 29, 2022 | by BMI Staff

For those of us gearing up for the New Year and all of the resolutions to be healthier that come with it, or for those of us who have spent the last few months sticking to a health goal, we want to share a few tips for making healthy choices around the holidays. Between the holiday parties, giant turkeys, and endless homemade candy this time of year, you may already be considering throwing in the towel on fitness until the New Year. We are here to tell you, there are many ways you can outsmart your Christmas cravings to keep on track!

Be flexible and gracious with yourself.

So many diets require strict regimens and unreasonable expectations that cause us to quit very early on. In addition to diet culture, the holidays threaten to derail healthy decisions at every turn. Instead of feeling guilty for indulging in delicious holiday foods, give yourself some grace and make the effort to get back on track the next day. If you have a holiday party at the end of the week, budget your calories leading up to it so that you have a few extra to splurge on that cheese ball or chocolate turtle. Allow yourself to slip up and enjoy yourself, and don’t make it a reason to give up altogether. 

Don’t skip breakfast, and graze throughout the day.

Whether or not you subscribe to the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or that multiple small meals a day can lead to weight loss, these may be good practices to at least employ during this time of year. Having a healthy, hearty meal early in the day will make you less likely to overeat later in the day. Similarly, grazing on fruits, nuts, and other nutrient rich foods before a holiday party will make the spread of fatty foods less alluring. 

Make small deals with yourself.

Motivation and exercise go hand in hand, and nothing feels better than having and sticking to a plan. To that end, consider making a deal with yourself to add a 30 minute workout for every indulgent, holiday treat you have. If it allows you to enjoy an evening with loved ones, guilt free, and it keeps you motivated to continue making healthy habits, it’s a win-win!

Choose a small plate.

This little bit of psychology may help with portion control throughout the holidays. Choose an appetizer or dessert plate when making your way through the buffet line instead of a dinner plate. Once it’s full, you’ll feel like you have as big of a meal as the person sitting next to you, without all of the bloated discomfort!

Savor the moment.

So much about the holiday season is rushed. The rush to stores, to family’s houses, to the buffet line. But a lot of what we consume around the holidays is a once-per-year experience. When eating a holiday meal with loved ones, take your time to really enjoy the moment, the people around you, and the flavors of your beloved grandmother’s cooking… rather than scarfing it all down before moving to the next activity.