6 Tips to Eat Your Way Through the Holidays Guilt-Free from NYC Registered Dietitian

They’re here!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then it’s a steep slide into Hanukah, Christmas, New Year, and all the days that happen in-between: office holiday parties, end-of-the-year encounters, cookie swaps, neighborhood caroling and more. And most people’s holiday family recipes don’t include raw carrots and hummus dip.

Here are some easy-to-follow holiday eating tips.

1. Shed the guilt! What an exhausting, horrible feeling when dealing with food. Our relationship with food is the same year ‘round. There are no goods and bads (okay, except for those highly processed Frankenstein foods). There’s just food. I often hear clients say, “I’m cheating this month.” You can’t “cheat” on food. You simply have to enjoy it. When we take away that guilt trip and stop looking at food as a reward or punishment, we can really enjoy, relish, taste, and appreciate the food on our plates and palettes.


2. Eat like the French! (Or Italians, Spanish, Greeks). Europeans cultivate a beautiful relationship with food. Food is a celebration!

3. Be mindful when eatingOvereating often happens at the holidays because we’re hungry and feel guilt for wanting to be decadent and indulge. 

a.  Scan the snack line for the treats that look most enticing – perhaps something that reminds you of home, or something entirely new. 

b.  Ask about the food, its history, who made it. Food is such an important way to connect with others.

c.  Appreciate the flavors. One of the best parts of the holidays is trying interesting foods. You might not always like them. Try them anyway. Then try something else!

d.  When you feel full, put your plate down, grab a glass of sparkling water, and enjoy the people you’re with.

4. Beware of the beverage! It’s easy to get lost in a frothy cup of hot cocoa. It’s part of the fun. Often, though, people indulge in sugar drinks because they might have low blood sugar from not eating enough foods that provide energy, like carbohydrates. Listen to your body’s cues because it’s important to eat during the holidays. Also, it’s important to have food in your stomach if you’re going to drink any alcohol. Stay hydrated! If you feel like you’ve had too much holiday sugar or *cheer*, drink sparkling water with cranberries and lemon Enjoy a sprinkle of nutmeg in your coffee or on top of a cup of hot chocolate (made with dark chocolate). 

5. Don’t skip meals. Anticipating a delicious meal later in the day is no reason to skip your regular mealsIt just sets your body up for starvation mode and overeating, which is not healthy. Give yourself permission to try everything! Stay mindful of the flavors and enjoy. Indulge in your co-worker’s famous latkes since you only get to taste them during this time of year. Research supports that guilt-free eating reduces overeating.

6. Enjoy traditionThe holidays are about family history, tradition, and passing that along from generation-to-generation, bite-by-bite. What better way to learn about your grandmother’s history than through the tastes she shares from her childhood? The same goes for coworkers! Sharing a meal is a beautiful way to share one another’s stories and honor them. You can go a step further and create a family (office, classroom) cookbook with favorite recipes, something everyone can cherish.

I am grateful for you, my readers.

I am grateful for my family, my work. I am grateful for the meals we share.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!