We are entering a chaotic time of year when self-care often takes a back seat to holiday mayhem. Four weeks of holiday celebrations, office parties, entertaining, holiday shopping, and school concerts leave very little time for prioritizing your health. Add notoriously high-calorie holiday foods to the mix and you could end up backtracking once the New Year comes around.

Continue your path to optimal health by planning for what lies ahead and developing simple strategies for success.

Here are seven simple ways to keep your nutrition on track over the holidays:

  1. Keep healthy snacks handy so you don’t get hungry. Stock your office, car, purse, and kitchen with nutrient-dense snacks. See our post, Snack Attack, for ideas.
  2. Plan for indulgences. You should be able to enjoy Grandma’s pumpkin pie without guilt – demonizing foods only makes them more tempting. When you plan to consume high-calorie foods, you can make adjustments BEFORE you eat them such as limiting calories in the earlier part of the day. Post-consumption adjustments are rarely effective — “I will exercise more tomorrow” is a classic promise that often lets us down.
  3. Choose calories wisely. Are those packaged cookies going to be as good as Pop Pop’s macaroons? Not a chance! Don’t waste your calories. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy those foods that you deem “worth it.”
  4. Adjust proportions. Fill your plate with more nutrient-dense foods like vegetables and fresh fruits. There is always a crudité platter at every party – make the vegetables the largest part of your plate and allow yourself to enjoy other foods in moderation.
  5. Eat before you go – anywhere! This is a tried and true strategy. If you go to the mall starving, you’ll have to hunt for a nutrient-dense snack.
  6. Weigh yourself. Weighing yourself frequently can help prevent pounds from creeping up on you.
  7. Offer to bring something. If you are invited to a party, ask the host if you can bring a soup or hearty salad. It will be fun to share something new, fresh, and delicious. Guests will know why you’re looking so darn good!