Staying on Track for the Holidays

As much as we love the holiday season, it’s no secret that it can be also be filled with stress, especially if you’re trying to stay focused on your health. The constant hustle and bustle doesn’t leave much time to focus on you or your wellness goals and health can often be tossed to the wayside, however this doesn’t have to be the case! Health and wellness can be balanced into your holiday season enjoyment. Here are some tips so you can have your Christmas cookies and eat them too:

  1. Prep your meals. This allows you to stay prepared during the busy holiday season and ensures you always have a tasty, nutritious meal on hand.


  • Get organized-write down your meals for the week and make a shopping list to avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed at the grocery store. A list is also a great tool to help you stay on budget!
  • Keep it simple-while it there are definitely times to experiment with new and exciting dishes, the holiday season is typically not that time. Choose quick and easy dishes such as crock pot meals to limit added stress from cooking.
  • Keep healthy snacks in reach-during the holidays it seems there is a tasty treat everywhere you turn. While it is 100% okay to indulge in moderation during this time, it may be helpful to keep nutritious snacks on hand to avoid overeating on the abundance of other calorie dense treats.
  1. Allow yourself to indulge. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed with good food and good people. Allow yourself to have these moments without feeling guilty. Remember, no food is good or bad and everything fits in a healthy, balanced diet.


  • Don’t restrict on party days. If you have a food filled holiday party planned for the evening, treat the day like a normal day of eating and exercise. Don’t starve yourself to save calories for later as this will only lead to bingeing and feelings of guilt later on. Eat a normal breakfast and lunch and enjoy the tasty dinner planned.
  • Portion size. When building your plate, opt for a smaller sized dish. When we use large plates we feel that we need to fill it with food and end up with eyes bigger than our stomachs. Using a smaller plate will allow you to better portion out your servings and avoid feeling overstuffed at the end of the day.
  • Fill your plate with fruits and veggies first, as this will help fill you up on nutrient dense foods before hitting the calorie dense options.
  1. Forgive yourself. Remember that nobody is perfect and the holidays are stressful enough without building feelings of guilt and fear around food. Allow yourself to enjoy this time stress free, stay active, and don’t let one indulgence become a full year of them.


Jessica Bahling is one of our trainers and sports performance coaches here at the RiverPlex. She is currently in the final internships through the Bradley Dietetics program to be a Registered Dietitian. For more information on nutrition and the services OSF offers, click here.

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author: Angela Bland