How To Eat Healthy and Win The Weight Loss War This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to indulge in treats! Did you know that it’s not uncommon to gain a pound or two during the holidays? Don’t fret if the thought of holiday weight gain makes you think twice about reaching for that slice of pecan pie. Here’s how to eat healthy while still enjoying the season.

How To Eat Healthy During the Holidays

No one wants to feel deprived during one of the happiest times of the year. There are several things you can do to avoid holiday weight gain:

    • Moderation is key. Holiday meals tend to be buffet-style feasts that include multiple trips to the kitchen for second and third helpings. A common misconception is eating large portions of food perceived as healthy. Include nutrient-rich on your plate, but remember these foods have calories and should be consumed in small portions.
    • Pick protein. Protein-rich foods are the key to healthy diets during the holidays. Since high-protein diets are associated with greater satiety, you will feel full for a longer period of time. Consider things like turkey, chicken, lentils or beans.
    • Stay hydrated. One study found adults who drank two cups of water before they ate shed 40 percent more weight over 12 weeks, and another found drinking water before meals led to naturally eating less.
    • Keep it moving. Doing some type of physical activity during the holidays is beneficial for weight control. Taking a family walk after dinner can take your mind off of food and allow you to bond with your loved ones.
    • Swap it for veggies. Try swapping pureed cauliflower for carb-heavy mashed potatoes and add side dishes with vegetables to increase the nutritional value of a meal. See below for a great recipe for “mock” garlic mashed potatoes using nutrient-rich cauliflower – yum!

“Mock” Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Wondering how to eat healthy at your holiday meal? This tasty recipe from Food Network makes veggie swaps a snap!


How to Eat Healthy Over the Holidays with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Courtesy of

1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bullion (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish

3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Using a stockpot, boil water over high heat.
  2. Clean cauliflower, then cut into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until done. Drain without letting the cauliflower cool. Pat it very dry between several layers of paper towels.
  3. In a food processor or a bowl with an immersion blender, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
  4. Serve hot with pats of butter and garnish with chives.

Cook’s Note: Try a whole new taste by roasting the garlic and adding a dash of fresh rosemary.

Holiday Fitness Resources

It’s okay to loosen the reins during the holidays, but the key is not to overdo it. MTVAC offers several fitness resources like a free year-round training guide to help you stay on track this season (and beyond). We also host monthly seminars that MTVAC members can attend free of charge!  Our next seminar will discuss minimizing winter weight gain. Renee McGrew, a registered dietitian, will teach you tricks on how to eat healthy and smart during the holidays, including topics like mindful eating.

This holiday season, plan ahead to win the weight war while still indulging and enjoying yourself. Happy holidays from everyone here at MTAVC!

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