Food is an important part of many holiday celebrations with family and friends. The foods served at these times can be higher in calories, fat, and/or sugar. It is also easy to overeat when there is a lot of food around. As a result, people may gain weight over the holidays.
With a little planning, you can make healthy food choices and still enjoy holiday celebrations.
It is easy to eat a full meal's worth of calories from appetizers alone. For example, 2 chicken wings, 2 sausage rolls, and 1 mini quiche have the same calories as a healthy meal. Choose a few items that you enjoy, and leave the rest. Visit with friends away from the appetizer or food table. Drink water or chew gum to help avoid mindless eating.
Re-think your drink
To limit the calories from drinks:
Many holiday drinks are high in sugar and calories. Limit these drinks:
Build a healthy plate
You can enjoy holidayfoods without giving up healthy eating. Try to build a healthy plate even at a party. Start with a smaller plate, if possible, to help you keep your portions smaller.
This is what a healthy plate looks like:
Image credit: Nutrition Services, Alberta Health Services 2021.
If you have a large plate, fill only the middle area.
Practice saying “No, thank-you”
You might feel pressure to eat food that the host has prepared. Learn to say “no, thank you, I’m full” when someone invites you to eat more. Keep some food on your plate and keep your glass half full to avoid pressure to eat and drink more. Instead of a second drink of alcohol or punch, refill your glass with water or club soda.
Bring along healthy options
Offer to bring dishes that have less added fat and less added sugar to parties. If you bring dessert, try a fruit tray. Your host and guests may welcome some healthy options.
Take charge in the kitchen
Do yourself and your guests a favour by making a few healthy changes when preparing foods by:
Offer your guests tasty snacks that are healthy:
Sometimes you end up with extra food after a party. Offer your guests a plate of food to take home for a meal or snack the next day. Party foods make great meals the day after:
Current as of: December 15, 2021
Author: Nutrition Services, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.