Skip to content

Archive for

Holiday Nutrition

One of life’s enjoyments during the holiday season is all of the delicious treats and special meals we can enjoy, so it’s no wonder the holidays are never an ideal time to diet.

Rainie Carter is a Clinical Nutritionist at Children’s of Alabama. She says it’s best for parents to focus on weight management and healthy choices for their children and themselves during the holidays. “It’s easy to add five extra pounds of weight during the holiday season. But the concern is that over the holidays, from October through January, we can put on five pounds of fat, but keep in mind it can take five months to lose it!” She says that can add up. “If you don’t lose it, you are ultimately adding 10 pounds in two years, 15 pounds in three years of holiday eating,” she says.

One tip she offers is to use smaller plates. She serves her meals on salad plates instead of dinner plates. “The difference is huge portion sizes. If you add the same amount of food portions to a dinner plate versus a salad plate, the larger plate doesn’t look as filling so you end up adding more or going back for seconds,” she says. “You need to trick your brain into being fuller by putting it on a smaller plate.”

Carter says it’s not necessary to deprive children treats during the holidays. But if you do indulge, be sure to pay attention to portion sizes. “Just think portion control,” she says. “Be sure to look at the ingredients, including calories, grams of fat and sugar and stick to portions rather than overeating.” She also recommends children stay full on healthy food so they don’t get as many sugar cravings.

Carter says a lot of holiday treats can be made using healthy substitutions like apple sauce and pumpkin instead of oils and fats. But if a true dessert is on the menu, a good rule of thumb is to consider portions again. A fist or palm of the hand is a good guide for a single portion.

The main goal during the holidays is weight maintenance. Children and adults can enjoy a few holiday indulgences without compromising their weight or overall health.