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Essential health information from local experts

TopTips for Eating Healthy this Holiday

Written by SMH Outpatient Dietitian Emily Harren


T'is the season for sharing time — and food — with family and friends! Try these tips to ensure your holidays are healthy and happy.  

1. Eat meals and snacks at your regular times during the day. Very busy and even stressful days can cause you to miss your hunger cues. When you're busy with the holiday bustle, try setting an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to grab a healthy snack.

2. Make room for your favorite foods, but in small portions. Try using smaller dinner plates, create a tapas menu or experiment with making bite-sized desserts. 

3. Don't skip meals before a party. Arriving to an event overly hungry sets you up for potential overeating, and it may actually decrease your ability to enjoy what you're eating. 

4. Take a healthy dish to your potluck or family dinner. That way, you know you'll have a healthy option that you can eat. 

5. Experiment with a new vegetable, fruit or whole grain in a recipe. 

6. At home gatherings, set up a buffet rather than dining family style. Focus on conversations going on around you, instead of getting second helpings just because the dish is in front of you. 

7. Avoid having snacks sitting around the house in clear containers or open bowls. Candies may cause you to mindlessly eat too much in one sitting and encourages grazing. 

8. Minimize stress as much as possible. Take breaks from planning, cleaning and shopping to do something that you really enjoy. Maybe it's watching a holiday movie or catching up with an old friend. 

9. Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep will interfere with your cues for hunger and satiety. 

10. Have a plan to exercise, even if you're traveling. Join friends and family members in their favorite physical activity, use phone apps to get workouts anywhere or challenge your loved ones to a video game dance off. 

From all of us at Sarasota Memorial, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday season! 

Have some tips to add to our list? Let us know: Email them to

emily harrenEmily Harren, MS, RD, LD, is an outpatient registered dietitian at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Diabetes Treatment and Outpatient Nutrition Services. She provides medical nutrition therapy to patients with acute and chronic dietary needs. She also serves on SMH's Health and Wellness Committee, provides talks on nutrition strategies for disease prevention and management, and regularly offers healthy eating tips on SMH's Healthe-Matters blog.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Key

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