How to Eat Healthier for the Holidays

During the holidays, it is really hard to eat healthy foods. If you’re going out to a holiday party or family gathering, you need to know how to have fun and stay well. Here are some effective strategies to help you eat healthier for the holidays.

Communicate with the host in advance

Talk to your host several days before the gathering. Don’t wait until you get there.

If you are eating a whole food plant-based diet, here’s what you might say:
“I eat differently than most other people. I eat foods that are low-fat and vegan, so I don’t eat meat or dairy. I eat a lot of vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes, and fruits.”

Offer to bring a dish

Your host is going to love this! When you bring food, it makes things so much easier. You have something you want to eat, and the host doesn’t have to figure out how to feed you.

Eat before you go

Many people skip meals in the morning so they can overeat at the holiday dinner. That’s a bad idea and can harm you. When you arrive starving, you are likely to eat everything in sight and end up in a food coma.


More importantly, a heavy meal increases the risk of having a heart attack. Prevent this by eating a healthy, low-fat meal just before you go out, so you’re not hungry when you arrive. Then all those artery-clogging holiday foods look less tempting.

Prepare for the tempting offer

You’ll likely experience external pressure to eat stuff that’s unhealthy.

Here’s how to handle it:

Somebody says, “Aren’t you going to have some cake? Just a little won’t hurt.”
Kindly say, “No. Thank you for offering. I have what I need for now.”

If you do choose to indulge, at least it should be your idea. Eating for the sake of being polite makes you feel even worse.

Avoid sharing too much information

People are naturally curious when someone eats differently. You’re going to get questions. Nevertheless, don’t give a lecture on nutrition. It’s okay to answer one or two questions about your food, but don’t dwell on it. Quickly change the subject. Talk about what you’re celebrating and stay in a festive, lighthearted mood.

Skip the debate

Don’t get pulled into a debate or argument over healthy vs. unhealthy food. It’s not your job to be the food police.

­­D­rink plenty of water

Water refreshes your tissues, detoxifies your cells, and reduces your caloric intake. As a general rule for your best health, avoid the alcohol, eggnog, and sweetened beverages.

Stay on the move­­­­

Exercise ­­­and take a walk in the morning. Try not to spend the whole holiday sitting around. You’ll have healthier blood sugars, better blood pressure, and more energy.

Bounce back fast

What if you cannot resist and indulge in unhealthy holiday eating?  Don’t stay there for long. Understand your tremendous resilience and capacity to get back on track.

Focus on what makes your health important to you. Stay inspired and little by little you will succeed.

By |2019-05-29T14:04:31-05:00November 19th, 2017|Recommendations & Thoughts|3 Comments

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About the Author:

Dr. Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a certified integrative health coach, speaker, and corporate wellness consultant. She helps busy people develop healthier lifestyle habits and use plant-based nutrition so they can heal themselves. She provides educational information through her health coaching services and an online course on diabetes. In addition she is an engaging speaker on the subject of plant-based food and healthy lifestyle habits that improve health, energy and productivity. In her prior career she practiced anesthesiology for 21 years. In the midst of that career she overcame personal health challenges by adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Also, she observed that most of her patients were suffering from preventable complications of chronic lifestyle diseases. From those experiences she is motivated to teach people how to take full control of their health through better eating and lifestyle habits.


  1. Barry Moltz November 19, 2017 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Great Advice!

  2. Lucius Bell, Jr. November 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Hey Carla,
    Thank you for your effort and expertise in offering such tasteful advice. You are an encouragement to me and my family. Happy Healthy Holidays.

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