The social gatherings that are typically part of the holidays can test a person’s commitment to a healthy
diet. It’s important to think about your wellness goals ahead of time; establishing your parameters in
advance can help you identify food that best supports you when approaching an overloaded holiday
table. PWC integrative dietitian nutritionist Jena S. Griffith shares the following tips to help you maintain
your healthy habits without feeling deprived through the holiday season.

  • Make and bring a healthy dish to share at potlucks; there’s comfort in knowing you’ll have your
    own delectable dish to enjoy!
  • Prior to a holiday gathering, don’t skip meals in order to save space or calories. Skipping meals
    means you may arrive hungrier and be more likely to overindulge. If you don’t want a full meal
    pre-event, that’s understandable. It’s best to enjoy some light, healthy snacks before going to a
    party.
  • When offered lots of food choices, begin your holiday meal by loading your plate up with
    veggies.
  • If you have a craving for something sweet, celebrate with foods that are naturally sweet and in
    season, like pumpkin and other squashes – there are many to choose from. Try roasted
    butternut squash or sweet potatoes, or stuff figs with nuts.
  • Don’t stand near the food table at a party. Often standing near the food encourages you to
    snack mindlessly while chatting. Stand far enough away that you need to think before you refill
    your plate with tempting goodies.
  • If you have a medical condition or allergies, don’t be enticed into eating things that could
    compromise your health. Bringing a dish that you can enjoy fully is one way to avoid the
    temptation of any off-limits dishes.
  • Eat mindfully. Choose your indulgences consciously. Enjoy every bite and eat it slowly. When
    we eat mindfully, we naturally eat less and feel more satisfied.

One final tip: Be nourished by the people you are with. Instead of focusing on the food, spend time
reconnecting with old friends, getting to know someone new, or going out of your way to
include others in a conversation. Nourishment comes in many forms and sharing time with
friends and family is a very meaningful and gratifying way to nourish yourself.

If you are interested in a nutrition consultation, Jena may be reached at 540-445-5387or jsgriffith@culpeperwellness.org.