Woman pouring olive oil on a salad in a winter/holiday themed kitchen

When you plan ahead, you can have a healthy holiday season and still reach your healthy-weight goals. It can help if you try not to think of the holidays as a time to give up things you enjoy. Instead, think of it as a time to give yourself something you want more—to reach your healthy weight.

Here are some ideas that may help you stay on track and still be festive.

Plan ahead to avoid temptations.

From buffet tables to candy dishes, every holiday serves up tasty reasons to slip. These strategies may help you through the holidays and after.

  1. Have a healthy snack before you go.
    What’s your favorite healthy snack? Popcorn, fresh fruit, or nuts are a few ideas. When you feel full, you’re less likely to overeat later.
  2. Bring a healthy dish.
    What dish makes you feel guilt-free? Grilled fish, steamed vegetables, brown rice, or a spinach salad are good options. Not only would you have a food you love at the table, but your host may appreciate the contribution.
  3. Save second helpings for later.
    Wouldn’t that extra serving taste just as good tomorrow? A piece of cake or that delicious turkey can be frozen. You might enjoy it even more a month from now, when holiday treats aren’t so available. And having it then can remind you how well you took care of yourself.

    What might work to help you plan ahead?

Create new, healthier holiday traditions.

Start some healthy new traditions that don’t involve eating. Here are some you could try:

  1. Volunteer with family and friends.
    What’s a cause that you care about? Food banks, animal shelters, or other nonprofit organizations can use your help.
  2. Join a community walk/run.
    Is this something you could do as a family or with friends? Walking as a group for a good cause can strengthen the bond you have with others.
  3. Make the time together count.
    What would make a gathering more meaningful? Playing games, putting a puzzle together, or reading a favorite book out loud are some things you can do with a group of friends or family.

    Those are just a few ideas. Maybe they’ll help you think of other things to try that could be the start of a healthier holiday tradition.

Take care of yourself.

Before the guests arrive or you head out to the festivities, take a little time for yourself to regroup, recharge, and renew. Here are a few ideas that might help you enjoy the holidays and stay with your plan:

  1. Eat mindfully.
    What’s the rush? Eat slowly, and taste every bite. When you take the time to eat mindfully, you can enjoy the gifts that healthy foods offer to your body and mind.
  2. Sleep in.
    Why not? When you have the sleep you need, you will have the energy you need to stay on your healthy-eating plan.
  3. Be kind to yourself.
    Feeling the stress of the holidays? It’s okay to disappear for a few minutes to sit, close your eyes, and take in a few deep breaths. When you’re relaxed, you may be better able to handle the stresses that could get you off track.

    How can you make this holiday season one that you can celebrate and feel good about?