Smart Strategies for Enjoying the Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

The holiday season is among us, at this point we have given up on our goals for the year or we’re actually sticking to them. If trying to enjoy the holiday season without gaining weight, this post is for you. I’ve been trying to maintain and lose weight throughout the year and I found all of these great tips work throughout the whole year, not just during the holiday season.

Smart Strategies for Enjoying the Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

7 Smart Strategies for Enjoying the Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

1. Pregame: If you skip meals or snacks during the day to “save up” for a holiday party, you will arrive starving and much more likely to inhale every tray of passed apps that walks by. To prevent this, plan for a small yet satisfying pre-party snack about an hour before you head to out the door. Your goal is to show up ready to focus on conversations with friends rather than ready to pounce on the buffet table. The key ingredients to an effective pre-event snack always include protein and fiber together. How about a string cheese, a handful of shelled pistachios and a few 100% whole-grain crackers? Or try an apple sliced and topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon

2. Dress the part: Steer clear of baggy holiday sweaters, comfy shift dresses and anything elastic-waist (or even worse, yoga pants). Loose clothing allows you to eat with abandon, making you less likely to pay attention to your brain and stomach when they are sending out, “I’m getting full” messages. You want to be able to feel when you’ve had enough to eat and drink, and a tight fitting pair of jeans or belted dress should do the trick.

3. Eat more: yes, you read that right– one of the keys to enjoying the holidays without feeling deprived is to focus on foods you can have more of, not less. Whether you’re at a holiday party or between big events, go crazy with anything vegetable! Veggies are not only rich in vitamins and minerals, but they are also high in both fiber and water which will help fill you up and keep you munching while crowding out extra cake, cookies and mashed potatoes. For snacks, try pairing fruit with shelled pistachios. Pistachios contribute protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin B-6, and more while also being the least caloric nut of all the nut varieties. For the same 100-calorie serving, you can enjoy 30 whole pistachios but only between 5 and 15 with other snack nuts. Setton Farms has a super convenient 100-calorie pack of pistachios with makes snacking easy.

4. Be picky: Most people tend to overeat when faced with a wide variety of options. Your best bet is to limit your choices by first doing a once over of everything offered before taking a minute to decide what looks the absolute best and most worth-it. Then, bulk up as much of your plate as you can with crudités or any other veggie-based sides you see. Next, fill up 1Ž4 of your plate (in a single layer) with a combo of lean protein, like chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, or smoked salmon. For the last section of your plate, add the homemade pie, holiday cookies, casserole, or any other goodie you’ve selected as your must-have favorite of the options. Try to save the smallest part of your plate for that and savor every bite!

5. Work the room: Make the party about much more than the food and the drinks. Instead, remember that this is the time of year where you get to socialize, and maybe even reconnect with friends and family you rarely see during the year. So, instead of parking yourself at the buffet or bar, mingle at the other end of the room. This way, when you go grab your plate or drink, you’re feeling completely conscious of what you’re choosing to nibble and sip.

6. Help the host: clear plates; wash dishes; fill up champagne flutes for other guests. These tasks will not make you friend of the year, but they will also keep your hands busy and away from the snacks or desserts after you know you’ve enjoyed enough. Another great way to help your host while helping yourself is to bring your own veggie-based side dish or appetizer that everyone can enjoy. Other guests will thank you for contributing, and you’ll have a foolproof, on-track option to add to your plate. Everyone wins!

7. Drink up: A few simple tricks will keep you from packing in the empty calories that live in most holiday drinks and from getting out of control at the dessert table after a few too many cocktails. Just like you’re planning to be picky with entrée choices, be selective with the festive cocktail you choose. Decide what sounds best to you — a mug of buttered rum, a glass of eggnog, or another equally as delicious drink, and then choose to have just the one. You can sip that treat slowly, and then move onto something lighter for the rest of the evening, like a white wine spritzer, a vodka soda, or glass of champagne. Between each cocktail, plan to drink one full glass of water to help keep the drinks from piling up and to help you stay hydrated which will make the morning after that much more pleasant.

Smart Strategies for Enjoying the Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

What are some ways you try to stay healthy during the holiday season?

About Natalie

Natalie is a North Carolina single mom who enjoys the simple things in life such as live music, great food, travel. When she’s not blogging, you can probably find her making graphics, binging netflix or spending time with friends.


  1. Cathy French says:

    I like the idea of having a pre-party snack about an hour before you head to out the door so I’m not starving when I get there.

  2. I try to drink a lot of water at holiday parties so I don’t eat too many treats.

  3. Rita Leonard says:

    Great advice. If only I could follow it when parties roll around

  4. Deborah W. says:

    I like to fill up on salad and lots of fiber before eating so I’m not ravenous at dinners or parties. The hardest part is baking cookies for the rest of the family; hard not to sample them.

  5. It is so important to fuel our bodies and not deprive them. Great post 🙂

  6. I like these tips; thanks for posting. I think it’s important to remember that we don’t need to deprive ourselves of the foods we enjoy, but of course moderation can be tough around the holidays. It can be good to have social support for this!

  7. I do so much baking so I try not to sample all the goodies!

  8. Allison Swain says:

    These are great tips. I think eating a lot of veggies and healthy starches will help a lot, that way no one can over indulge because you aren’t super hungry. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Sandy Klocinski says:

    I like the pre-party snack idea. If I only had more will power! It helps to have a friend to share with

  10. Thanks for the tips. Now can I follow them when the hectic holidays are upon us.

  11. Great tips – here’s hoping I can put them into practice.

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