The holidays can be a tough time when you’re trying to get in a healthier mindset.  Here are a few tips to get yourself in the holiday spirit without all that guilt.


Treats are everywhere, and endless holiday parties and potlucks to attend. Plus the weather is colder so you feel less like going out and being active. So what’s the number one thing to remember during this time while you’re trying to stay healthy?

It’s OK.

It’s OK to have a Christmas cookie or two. It’s OK to have a slice of pumpkin pie. It’s OK to have some cheese dip while you’re waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. Really, it’s OK.

Part of living a healthy lifestyle is about having a healthy relationship with food, and a healthy relationship does not involve feelings of guilt. A healthy relationship does not involve avoidance of a situation just because of the food that will be there.

Food is just food, it’s not good or bad.

It’s meant for nourishment by providing the energy and nutrients that you need, and every food you eat does that to one extent or another.

Now, just because you are giving yourself permission to indulge over the next month, does not mean you have to overindulge. Here are a few simple ways to keep your food intake in check:

If you’re not hungry, don’t eat.

Pretty straight forward, but how many times have you grabbed an appetizer that smelled amazing even though you weren’t all that hungry? If the smells are too enticing, step away from the food table and hang out in another area of the room.

If it doesn’t taste good, stop eating.

This one is especially true with desserts. There are a lot of times that a dessert looks or sounds better than it really is (perhaps it’s a little bit of that wanting what you can’t have?) There’s no reason to keep eating something you’re not enjoying.

Stop eating when you’re full.

Yes, even if your plate isn’t empty. I know that can be very difficult if you were raised in the Clean Plate Club. If you find it challenging consider wrapping up the leftovers for later, or sharing your plate with a friend.

Use a smaller plate when possible.

This will automatically help you control the portion sizes.  The key is to remember to limit yourself from continuously returning for seconds, thirds, and so forth just because you have a smaller plate.

The holidays are a time for us to gather and break bread with those nearest and dearest to us.  It can also be a great form of stress relief if we emphasize the more positive aspects. If you’re hosting a gathering of your own, put the focus on the company more than the food. Gathering everyone for a game of charades will get you up and away from the table of food. Besides, the memory of a fun game with those you care about will be a much nicer memory to reflect on than what cookies you ate (even if they’re really good cookies).

Adapted from the original article.

Taryn Schubert, RD is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian who helps people create healthy diets that fit their lifestyle. With her specialty in adult weight management and mindful eating, Taryn believes food should be a source of joy and nourishment, not “good” or “bad” in the way society perpetuates. Visit Taryn and begin creating your healthier relationship with food.