Holiday pear
December 1, 2021

SNAP-Ed NY: Five Tips for Healthier Holidays

SNAP-Ed NY: Five Tips for Healthier Holidays

SNAP-Ed NY: Five Tips for Healthier Holidays
Have a plan to avoid the pitfalls of holiday eating
by Wendy Beckman, MS, RD, CD

According to this study conducted in 2014, adults in Western societies gain an average of one pound between mid-November and mid-January each year. That might not seem like much, but most adults don’t lose the weight that they gain, so over the years, it adds up.

Here are five tips to avoid some of the most common pitfalls during the holiday season.

 Don’t ditch your exercise routine. Regular exercise can help to maintain body weight and it can help reduce stress this time of year, so ditching your walking routine now is not a good idea. If you can’t exercise outside, find out if there is a nearby indoor space where you can walk such as a mall or school.

Have a plan. If you are going to a gathering where you know there will be a lot of sweet treats, make sure that you aren’t hungry when you arrive. Before you leave, have a healthy snack like an apple with some cheese or a low-fat yogurt.  If you aren’t starving when you arrive, you will be less tempted to over-eat.

Watch your portion sizes. It’s ok to have some of the holiday treats this time of year, but don’t overdo it. Be mindful of how much you are putting on your plate.

Offer to bring a healthy dish. If you are going to a gathering where you know there will be a lot of indulgent treats, offer to bring something that has more nutrition and less calories like a colorful fruit salad, some cut up fresh veggies with low fat dip or a hearty black bean soup. This will give you some options when you fill up your plate. 

Wait 10 minutes before getting seconds. If you feel the urge to go back and get more of that treat – waiting 10 minutes can give your brain time to acknowledge that you have had enough, and you might save some calories by skipping that second helping.

Enjoying holiday treats is one of the joys of the season. It’s ok to have those foods that remind you of your childhood or look just too delicious to pass up! The key is to keep your routine as normal as possible. Any of these tips could be used throughout the year to help you maintain or lose weight.

Check out SNAP-ed NY’s November recipe, Northwest Apple Salad and the December recipe Cinnamon Baked Pears for some delicious and healthy holiday options!

Wendy Beckman, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian with the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). She has over 15 years’ experience working as a Registered Dietitian in long term care and acute care settings and currently oversees the NYSOFA SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education program for older adults in New York State. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For more information on how to save time, save money and eat healthy, visit