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How to stay on track during the Holidays

By Jessica A. Schreck, RD, CDN, CDE

The holiday season brings with it lots of cheer. But the cold weather, combined with holiday party after holiday party, often leads to decreased exercise and poor eating habits. These factors cause the average American to gain weight during the winter months. Follow these tips in order to stay on track on the day of your holiday party:

  • Eat a balanced breakfast. Many people think that if they are going to eat a big meal later in the day, they should skip breakfast in order to consume fewer calories overall. This mentality can actually do more harm than good. Eating a balanced breakfast will help jump-start your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar, and minimize over-eating later in the day.
  • Bring a healthy appetizer with you. Whether it is a vegetable crudité plate or a salad, if you bring a nutritious appetizer to share, you know that there will be something healthy for you to enjoy.
  • Drink plenty of water. Keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day and sip regularly. Try to limit sweetened beverages and alcohol. If you decide to drink a glass of something other than water, sip slowly. Then, switch back to water.
  • Move together as a family. Whether it’s a long walk, a football game, or a game of musical chairs, plan a fun activity to do together that gets everybody moving. Exercising in the morning before your party can also be a fun way to start the day.
  • Practice mindful eating. Eat slowly and pay attention to the food you are eating. This will help you enjoy the flavor of the food, and will also make it easier for you to recognize when your body is full.
  • Bring home leftovers. Instead of overeating because you only get to eat certain foods once a year, eat until you are full and then bring home a small container of leftovers to enjoy the following day.
  • Take time to de-stress. Holiday stress can make it difficult to make healthy choices. Schedule a bit of time each day to do something that helps you unwind. Read a book, take a bath, or go for a walk.
  • And finally, ENJOY YOURSELF! If you can’t follow all of these tips, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply do what you can, enjoy this special time with family and friends, and jump back on the saddle the next day!


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Jessica Schreck is a Registered Dietitian, Diabetes Educator and Family Health Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at 631-727-7850 ext. 342 or at


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