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 Stay Healthy During the Holidays

By Luting Sun

Medical student at Midwestern University – Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

For many of us, the holidays can be a tricky time to maintain our healthy habits. From holiday parties to big dinners and non-stop baked goods at the office, it can be pretty easy to slide away from our mindful & healthy routines. After all, we know how hard it is to say no to Grandma’s blueberry pie!

Here are some tips to stay healthy through the holidays while spending time with friends & family and enjoying the treats of the season.


Maybe the single most important practice during the holiday season is watching your portion sizes. The goal isn’t to completely avoid those special holiday treats, but rather to enjoy them in a healthy and balanced way without eating too much.  

My tips:

Use small plates

Small plates fill up quicker, so it makes us be choosier about what we put on them. This tends to help us pick a smaller portion of our most favorite holiday foods instead of a big serving of everything on the table. They also give us time to slow down our eating. Instead of finishing a big plate in one sitting, we can slow down with our smaller plate and focus more on visiting with family and friends between bites.

Of course there is the option to get up for a second helping, but by that time we might be so deep in conversation that we don’t feel like getting up for seconds.

Pick your favorites

Instead of taking one of everything at the dessert table, try just picking one or two of your favorites. You’ll end up eating less calories but will still feel satisfied!

Drink water

Our bodies need water to survive – all our cells and organs depend on us to drink water. When we think about all the good (and maybe salty) foods, sweet treats, special drinks, and busy schedules during this season, we can see how important it is to drink enough water.

My tips:

Bring a water bottle

Carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it often during the day.

Follow the 1-for-1 rule

For every sugary or alcoholic beverage you drink, be sure to drink a glass of water. 

Stick to your schedule

With all of the special events happening and merriment in the air, it’s easy to go into “vacation mode” during the holiday season. While it’s a great time for treats and activities, it’s helpful to have constant reminders that we aren’t actually on a 2-month vacation. Sticking to your normal schedule can make a big difference over time!

My tips:

Eat breakfast

Eating a good breakfast is a great way to kick-start your metabolism for the whole day.

Try some of these healthy breakfast items to start your day off right:

  • Nut butters
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal


Do your best to stick to your normal exercise routine. Ask a buddy to keep you accountable and make sure you go for your walk each morning.

Be fruity

Keep a fruit basket full on your dining table or kitchen island. Guests (and you, too!) will like having a healthy option to choose from amongst the mountains of goodies.

I hope these tips are helpful for you! If you're interested in making a couple more healthy swaps this holiday season, I've gathered some resources for you to use:

The health educators at the Learning Resource Center are also available to help you stay healthy during the holidays. Connect with a health educator with all of your questions about healthy eating & active living! Be well, be well informed.