Finding the Right Balance this Holiday Season

Holidays are a time of togetherness and celebration, and let’s face it: food (and drink!) is a major part of the season. With cookies, cakes, and eggnog surrounding us at countless parties and at the workplace, it can certainly feel like a challenging time to stay on the right nutritional track. Do not despair!

Where many people run into trouble, is when they allow a few episodes of over-indulgence slide into a slippery slope. Some adopt the attitude that since they have already “ruined” their diet, they may as well continue eating poorly. It is important to recognize that a handful of rich meals will not have a major impact on our bodies, especially if we are quick to return to our healthy habits.  A full month of dietary debauchery, however, maybe a little more difficult to recover from!

On the other extreme, many health and weight-conscious people come to fear the holidays, believing that all of their efforts will come undone. We should never feel apprehensive or shameful when it comes to enjoying a meal. “Healthy eating” means more than simply having a balanced diet: it also means having a healthy attitude towards and being able to enjoy food!

The best approach to staying on track during the holiday season is to stay present and mindful.  Take a moment to check-in with your hunger levels and ask yourself “is this really worth it”. Just because someone brings donuts into work does not mean that you have to eat them. However, if you wait all year for your aunt’s famous shortbread cookies, go ahead and enjoy a few without any guilt!

Here are a few tips for practicing moderation this holiday season:

  • Pack your lunch and snacks. Be sure to bring a healthy lunch and snacks to work whenever possible. If you have filled up on wholesome food, you will be less likely to be tempted by the treats surrounding you!
  • Get the right balance on your plate. If you are able to serve yourself at dinner parties, cover at least half of your plate with veggies, a quarter of your plate with protein and a quarter with a grain product. This will ensure you are filling up with more vitamins, minerals, and fiber vs. fat and cholesterol.
  • Limit the alcohol. Not only is it high in calories, but alcohol can stimulate the appetite, causing us to overeat. Furthermore, alcohol lowers our inhibitions, making us that much more likely to go for seconds! I suggest pacing yourself by having a full glass of water between each drink.
  • Stay moving. Try to schedule in time for workouts – it can be very helpful with burning off a little of the excess.

robin glance nutritionist montrealRobin Glance is the registered dietician at the Energie EnCorps Wellness Centre in Kirkland.  She is a McGill graduate of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and has been practicing clinical nutrition for over nine years.  To book an appointment with Robin call 514-505-9642 or visit

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