‘Tis the season for festivities, joy, shopping—and lots of eating. It’s hard to stick to your “normal” daily routine, especially as a busy mom. With traveling, family gatherings, dinner buffets, sweets, and your grandma’s famous pecan pie, you may be worried that you’re not making the most mindful eating choices. And it’s OK to indulge (in moderation, of course)! Make sure you allow yourself to enjoy yourself, but we also have 9 simple tips to help you make healthy choices this holiday season. 

1. Continue to eat normally.

The best plan is to stick to your “normal” healthy habits without skipping meals when hosting or attending parties. Skipping breakfast and lunch to "save" all of your calories for dinner typically leads to overeating and having the uncomfortable sensation of being "stuffed". (And here’s a pro-tip for when you make your plate: Fill half your plate with vegetables. Leafy greens, starchy vegetables, and high-fiber food take longer to digest which helps you feel fuller longer.) 

2. Make physical activity a priority.

You have a lot on your plate this year, literally and figuratively. Don’t let the hustle and bustle derail your exercise routine. Exercise reduces stress, boosts your mood, improves energy levels, and helps you sleep better. In case you don’t have time for the gym, here are some mini tips to follow:

  • Depending on the weather and offerings in your area try incorporating winter activities into your holiday festivities such as sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, shoveling, walking, biking, or sports 
  • Don’t overdo it, a quick 30 minutes of exercise is all you need
  • It’s better together, so invite your friends and family to join

3. Hydrate.

As the weather begins to cool down we tend to forget to drink water. Staying hydrated throughout the day will boost your energy and help you feel full. Try these tips:

  • Drink eight ounces of water before every meal
  • Alternate between water and alcoholic beverages if you are drinking 
  • Never let your water bottle leave your side as a daily reminder to stay hydrated
  • Try flavored sparkling water like LaCroix or water with lemon wedges to add more variety to your water intake  

4. Relax.

The holiday season can be a very stressful time for families with endless shopping lists, family gatherings, cooking and cleaning. This year, help yourself avoid binge or stress eating by incorporating daily relaxation techniques such as mediation, reading, slow breathing, sleep, exercise and journaling  

5. Eat before you go.

Before setting out for a holiday party, eat before you go so you don’t show up on an empty stomach. Small snacks such as apple slices with peanut butter, turkey and cheese on whole-wheat bread, trail mix, or crackers are a great pre-party snack. 

6. Focus on people.

While at a party, focus on the conversations you are having and the relationships you are cultivating. 

7. Be mindful of feeling full.

Slowing down to enjoy and savor each bite will help you eat till you are satisfied. A few ways to do this are by setting your fork down in between bites, drinking water throughout your meal, and once done with your plate wait about 10 minutes before heading up for seconds.  

8. Enjoy your favorites.

It’s hard to say no to your favorite holiday treats, so don’t! Enjoy your favorites but be mindful when doing so. Here’s how.

  • If desserts are your weakness, instead of feeling guilty, take a small sampling of each of your favorite desserts
  • No food is on the naughty list— just slow down and savor small portions.