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Holiday Healthy Eating

By Katelyn Schobert, RD – Southwest Health Nutrition Services

Holidays are meant to be a joyous time – gathering with friends and family, taking some time off of working, and lots of good food. For those with health goals, holidays can be stressful with all the delicious foods – typically leading to overindulging. Then the sense of defeat as their health goals get further away.

During the holidays, one might want to switch their mentality from advanced goals to maintenance goals. Instead of continuing to lose weight over the holidays, shift the focus to maintaining weight loss. It’s all about taking a more mindful nutrition approach.

Here are some tips about mindful eating and enjoying this holiday season:

  1. Consistent meals: Avoid skipping meals in preparation for a holiday dinner or lunch. This leads to overeating. Instead, have a well-balanced meal during normal meal times to ensure good nutrient intake for the day.
  2. Nothing is off limits: Restriction of foods can lead to over-obsession and often bingeing, when it would have been better to have a small amount of the dessert to satisfy craving in the first place.
  3. Healthy Strategies for Stress: Even without the stress of eating, holidays can be stressful with extra family around, planning meals, and traveling. Avoid using food for stress relief and instead getting daily movement, or taking some time for journaling can help with stress.
  4. Practice Mindful Eating: Start with small portions of foods. Then if you are hungry, you can return for more, or have a snack. Also, try to savor the food – take time to really taste the food by chewing it thoroughly and enjoy the delicious meals.
  5. Get Enough Sleep: Holidays are busy, but do not forget about sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to stress, overeating, and illness.
  6. Bring Healthy Sides:  Look into healthy alternatives for holiday favorites. A few are listed below:

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup evaporated fat free milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8- inch springform pan. In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, and pumpkin spice. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly until combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pan and place on baking sheet
  2. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center appear to set when shaken. Cool for 1 hour on the wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 2 -24 hours before serving.
  3. To serve, run spatula around the edge of pan then cut into 8 equal wedges.

Alternative to Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 lb French-style green beans (canned, frozen, or fresh)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt (for seasoning)
  1. Boil water for green beans if not canned. One cooked, drain green beans.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add sliced almonds. Cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic and lemon for about 1 more minute on heat.
  3. Add green beans to the skillet and toss until coated. Season with salt (if desired).

If you have questions about healthy eating; holidays or beyond, you can contact our Registered Dietitian Katelyn Schobert, RD at 608-342-5025. Katelyn’s philosophy for nutrition is that all foods fit. She enjoys working one on one with patients, developing a plan, and helping to meet their personal nutrition goals. You can also read more about Katelyn at under Nutrition Services.