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A Lighter Plan for Holiday Cheer

Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN

The month of December ushers in the shopping season, along with a few extra calories. Your full schedule of holiday parties, both for work, with friends, plus family gatherings, adds up to more than one day of extra eating and drinking. I have some tips that will help keep calories in check.

  • Size Matters. Look for smaller glasses, plates, and bowls for your holiday party. Enjoy smaller sips and bites to avoid eating to excess.
  • Work the Room. When you are at your office party or a friend’s holiday open house, don’t sit, stand. Make it a point to walk from group to group and chat and mingle. This helps keep you busy, and avoids standing around the buffet table too long.
  • Be the Bearer of Healthy Snacks. Hey, I love chocolate candy as much as the next person, but sometimes the office can get overloaded with junk food this time of year. Balance out the treats by bringing in clementines, a fruit tray, nuts, vegetables with dip, homemade mini muffins, or a low calorie beverage. You don’t have to declare they’re healthy, just put them out and enjoy. Coworkers will be happy to have something fresh and healthy to snack and sip on through the day.
  • Party Planning Hydration. When hosting a party, be sure to have a variety of waters available to keep guests hydrated and help pace the drinking. Staying hydrated is the best tool to staying sane during the holiday season. Flavored sparkling waters or seltzer can be very refreshing in between cocktails and meals. You might also fill an ice tub with small water bottles, making it easy for guest to grab.
  • Lighten Your Punch. The holiday punch bowl can also throw a punch, in terms of calories. Substitute diet lemon-lime soda or diet ginger ale. Or try adding a flavored low calorie seltzer.

You can get through the end of the year without gaining a pound, while you still enjoy your favorite holiday traditions. Eat well, stay active, and happy holidays!


In addition to being the mother of 3 sons, Rosanne has nearly 30 years of experience in the food and nutrition field. She is the coauthor of several books, including DASH Diet For Dummies®, which all share her philosophy of balancing healthy eating with exercise and an enjoyment of life's little pleasures. Check out her blog, Chew The Facts, for more on this topic.

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