Seven tips for a guilt-free holiday season

Tip: Skip the New Year’s resolutions – these smart tips for holiday eating will help you celebrate a guilt-free season that gives you a great start to the new year!

By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group

The end of the year is a season of celebration and quality time spent with friends and loved ones, but it is also rife with stress, temptation and unwanted weight gain. Unfortunately, that excess weight does not come off easily – most of us spend the rest of the year trying to lose the extra pounds we gained during the holiday season. Ambitious plans to avoid indulging during the holidays fail because they are unrealistic. Instead, approach the holidays with mindful moderation so you can celebrate the season without experiencing the January misery of dieters and gym-goers who are busy trying to undo their actions of the previous months.

Celebrate a Delicious, Guilt-Free Holiday Season

Follow these smart tips to enjoy a holiday season that leaves you feeling great:

  • Do Not Go Hungry – Going to a holiday party with an empty stomach is a recipe for overeating less-than-nourishing foods. Eat your normal meals throughout the day. Then have a healthy snack and a glass of water before you head to the party, so you won’t be tempted to attack the buffet the minute you arrive.
  • Don’t Drink Your Calories –Holiday cocktails pack in a lot of empty calories without satisfying your hunger. Stick to beer or wine and alternate each alcoholic beverage with a full glass of water – you will feel fuller and the extra hydration will help you feel better the next day. 
  • Bring a Nourishing Dish – Add your own nourishing dish to the buffet so you won’t have to choose between going hungry and sabotaging your food plan. Chef Marshall’s Honey-Roasted Apples and Carrots are a delectable, nourishing alternative to traditional holiday side dishes that are loaded with added sugars, unhealthy fats and fast carbohydrates.
  • Stand Away from the Buffet – When you park yourself next to the buffet table, you are more likely to continue to graze all night long. Get your food, then move to another part of the room. 
  • Take Small Portions – Start with small samples when choosing foods from the buffet – you can always go back for more, and you won’t waste calories finishing large portions of things that looked delicious but really aren’t very tasty.
  • Indulge Mindfully – Avoid eating large quantities of treats just because they are there. Make a conscious choice to indulge, and fully enjoy what you choose so you are satisfied by it. Scan the entire buffet before deciding which options are worth trying, and select the special homemade foods you can’t get at any other time of year—not the mediocre store-bought offerings. 
  • Focus on People, Not Food – Time spent with friends and loved ones does not need to be time spent eating. Plan gatherings that involve being active together – take a wintery walk, or go sledding or skiing.

Give Yourself a Nourished New Year

When you navigate the holiday season with a smart plan, you will fully enjoy the festivities with less excess baggage afterwards. Follow our tips for surviving holiday parties, eat mindfully, and shift your focus from food to friends and family. Smart choices during the holidays will help you minimize end-of-the-year weight gain and leave you feeling healthy and nourished for the new year.

You will love the way you feel!

Chef Marshall O’BrienThe Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.