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Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season


Holiday traditions of family, friends and food are intended to bring joy and fulfillment rather than stress and anxiety.  So why do so many of us struggle to maintain our regular, day-to-day schedule and allow stress and anxiety to take over?  What can we do to avoid poor food choices, frequent overeating, lack of sleep, and missed exercise?

The following suggestions are the tools that I have used to help navigate the change of routine during the holidays without sabotaging my weight management program that has afforded me the ability to keep off a weight loss of 125 pounds for the past decade.

1.     Plan, plan, plan!  Planning gives you a sense of control and keeps you in the driver’s seat.  If you plan, you’re less likely to find yourself in situations that you have no control over, requiring you to eat foods that you don’t choose to eat.


2.     Do not skip meals. Often people erroneously believe that going without food the day before or after a big meal will compensate for the overeating.  This behavior will just set you up for further overeating.  After a holiday meal, get right back on track for the rest of the holiday weekend with your normal meal routine.


3.      Lighten up your recipes.  Try sweet potatoes with an oat crumb topping in place of marshmallows.  Fresh, roasted green beans with a sprinkling of almonds beat frozen green beans in canned mushroom soup any day in my book! 


4.     Use a smaller dinner plate to control the amount you eat.  A smaller plate that’s full appears more satisfying than a large plate with smaller servings and extra space. 


5.     Make your appetizers light.  Vegetables with hummus or shrimp with cocktail sauce are nutritious, light, and will help curb your appetite before the main meal.


6.     Choose your favorite dessert and allow yourself to enjoy it. All of the bites out of the pan do count, so put one small serving on a plate and enjoy!


7.     Be sure to get enough sleep.  Being sleep deprived leads to food cravings and over-eating.


8.     Do something fun and active before or after your holiday meal.  Gather the family for a game of tag, softball, or touch football or go for a family walk.


9.     If you aregoing to be a guest in someone else’s home, offer to bring a dishthat you can prepare with your choice of healthy ingredients.  That way you’ll know that there will be at least one light and healthy dish on the table.


10.  Remember that the true meaning of the holiday season is to connect with family and friends.  Food plays just a small role.  Focus on people, conversation, and connection more than on food.  Choose someone that you have not seen for a while and start a conversation.  Make memories.

Nancy Hintze

About the author

Nancy Hintze, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, began her career as a Foods and Nutrition teacher in Lehi, Utah in 2003. At the time she began teaching middle school students about nutrition, she weighed 286 pounds. She quickly became aware that if she expected her students to believe her, she had to be an example of what she taught. Over the course of the next several years, as she eliminated 125 pounds by changing what she ate and how she cooked, Nancy became passionate about sharing her healthy lifestyle keys with her students and their families. Along the journey of her transformation, she also became an avid chef with a zest for good old fashioned food preparation with a modern twist – healthy ingredients and ease of preparation.

Nancy is a licensed Family and Consumer Sciences teacher as well as a certified L.E.A.N Health Coach. She has developed and produced Community Nutrition Fairs, mentored students in the Fuel Up to Play program and accompanied one of her students to represent Utah in the National Fuel Up to Play summit in Washington, D. C. In addition, she has coached individual clients to achieve greater levels of personal wellness. And now we have the privilege of announcing Nancy as our very own Culinary Nutritionist here at Reams.

When she’s not sharing her passion for great eating with others, you can find her in her vegetable garden, or knitting or sewing, reading a great novel, hanging out with one of her 21 grandchildren or on the road in the RV that she and her husband love to travel in.