How a Dietitian Eats Over the Holidays

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As I pondered what I would write for my Nutrition Focused Friday post a variety of ideas crossed my mind.  But one in particular stood out – Holiday Eating.  I can’t tell you how MANY articles, posts, news reports, etc have been talking about eating healthy over the holidays.  To be honest…it’s getting frustrating.  I know, how could I get annoyed with healthy eating tips? christmas2 Well I just do.  Mainly because I think some of them are ridiculous, unreasonable and not fun.  And I wouldn’t want to follow them so why should I tell my patients and clients to follow them?  I shouldn’t!  So instead of writing yet another post on how to be super healthy over holidays, I’ll tell you how a real dietitian (who is healthy) eats.

  1. I eat what I want.  Yes, that does come with stipulations (as you’ll see below).  But overall I choose foods that I feel like eating, that I haven’t had in a while, and that I really enjoy.  Yes, I’ll have those mashed potatoes with cream and butter.  And end the meal with a slice of apple pie.  Because I want to.
  2. I eat at least 2 meals a day.  Even on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I don’t skip meals in the effort to save calories for one ginormous meal later on.  Because when I skip breakfast or lunch, I get “hangry” – hungry/angry and then I lose the ability to control myself when meal time does come.  I always have breakfast and if Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner is an “early dinner”, then I usually stick to only 2 meals.
  3. I have just one serving.  This is one of those stipulations that comes with the “eat what I want” factor.  I chose whatever I want, but allow myself to have one moderate serving.  No if’s, and’s or but’s.  One it is.  One moderate serving, not giant serving.  As a long ago family member once said – “the first bite tastes exactly the same as the last.”
  4. I indulge for the holiDAY.  Not days.  Even with the excessive amount of leftovers in our house, I stick to just 2-3 meals of “indulgence.”  Dinner on Christmas eve and day and maybe a leftover lunch or two.  But that’s it.  If I continue to eat all those rich, high calorie foods, I usually end up feeling kinda yucky.  I know and set my limits accordingly.
  5. I work out.  This past Thanksgiving my Mom and I went for a 5 mile run before all the crazy cooking chaos began.  It set off the day just right – something healthy and it gave us energy too.  Keeping up the exercise can help keep you focused and keep your will power strong so you’re not tempted to over indulge.
  6. And I may gain a pound or two.  Yea…even the health nuts gain some weight over the holidays.  The important thing is make sure you get back on track the next day – that’s why I indulge for just the day, not days like in #4.  I’m OK with a pound or two extra (but not much more than that!).  I enjoyed myself and I know that once I get back on my regular eating pattern, that extra weight will be gone in no time.

So…that’s how I eat (and think about eating) over the holidays.  Nothing too complicated!  I just try to enjoy myself, my family, friends and eat good food.  I hope that some of these tidbits can help put your holiday “dieting” stress at ease a bit.  Just focus on enjoying life in moderation!  Happy holidays!


  1. Melissa

    December 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Love the “Eat for the holiDAY” so true! If you indulge for an entire season your goals will really be set back!

    • mewinebrenner

      December 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Yes! You definitely can’t have hot chocolate and cookies for 6 weeks! That’d be bad!

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