Health Advocate Blog

How do you navigate the holiday food minefield?

As part of Health Advocate’s Maintain, Don’t Gain campaign, many of our members are aiming to maintain healthy habits–like maintaining weight, eating right, exercising, and reducing stress–leading up to, and lasting throughout, the holidays.

We asked some of our members who are participating in the Maintain, Don’t Gain campaign about their strategies to navigate the holiday food minefield. Here are a few of our favorite responses:

“Eat breakfast, be mindful of ‘hungry vs. habit,’ get up from the table when I’m full, and have lots of water to drink.” –Suzetta

“Before any holiday parties or gatherings, I will eat a healthy snack to help control my cravings. When I get there, I will eat in moderation, only taking smaller portions.” –Carol

“I will always start the day off with a nutritious breakfast.” –Lorie

“Walking, portion control, and strict use of the FDA food pyramid.” –Thomas

“I try to eat the healthiest thing I can find at parties or meals and fill up on that.  If I get tempted to eat something yummy, I have one bite and no more.” –Helen

“I will replace cookies and desserts with almonds and replace processed grains with complex carbs like brown rice or sweet potato. –Jason

“My healthy eating strategy during the holidays will be both eating regular meals as well as controlling my portions. I don’t want to feel like I’m denying myself my favorite holiday foods (like my Grandma’s pie!).” –Rhonda

“I think about the unhealthy ingredients that are in the desserts and the amount of exercise I will have to do to burn those calories off.” –Michael

“Portion size and use smaller plates. I also use a salad fork for my meals, so I take smaller bites.” –Angie

“I try to stick to the vegetable trays when eating appetizers at parties.” –Carol

“During the holidays I will take small portions of the things I really like instead of avoiding them completely.  Also, I will try not to go into a situation where I know there will many high-calorie foods without having something healthy to eat first.” –Lori

“I am very selective about the treats I indulge in.  If it’s not homemade and completely awesome, I stay away.  For me, baked goods purchased at the supermarket are not worth the calories.  I actually adhere to this strategy year-round.” –Gina

“I plan on using a smaller dinner plate. That way when I fill it up  it’s a lot less food than what’s on a regular-sized plate.” –Nancy

Are you looking to maintain your health during the holidays, too? Tweet us @HealthAdvocate and tell us how you navigate the holiday food minefield!

For Health Advocate members with access to our Wellness Program:

It’s not too late to join our Maintain, Don’t Gain campaign for 2014! Simply log in to your Health Advocate Wellness website and opt-in to the Maintain, Don’t Gain campaign (depending on your particular program/website, you can register either by clicking the Maintain, Don’t Gain banner on the top of the page, or by clicking “My Account”). During the campaign, you will receive valuable tips via email and/or text messaging that can help you stay healthy throughout the holidays.

Additionally, if you have access to a Health Advocate Wellness Coach through our wellness program, you can connect with a coach who can help motivate and guide you to make healthy lifestyle choices. Call us today to get started!