Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. 5 Steps to Saying ‘NO’ to Calorie-Packed Holiday Fare

    You know who they are – the well-meaning folks who push food on you during the holidays, urging you to “Just have one!” or “Splurge a little, it’s the holidays!”

    It may be Grandma (which is kind of sweet), but more often than not it’s a friend, neighbor or co-worker — and that’s extra pressure to eat the calorie-laden foods and drinks you don’t need.

    Here are 5 steps to saying no to unhealthy holiday foods:

    Give yourself permission to do “whatever” you want, including saying no to holiday treats, and even to turning down affairs that are traditionally full of excess drinks and calories. That is how you value yourself, and it’s the beginning of self-care. Understand the importance of setting boundaries. Slow down and take in the true meaning of the season. Ask yourself, “What do I want to gain during the holiday season this year?” or “What is important to me and what traditions am I willing to forego?”

    2. Show appreciation by redirecting good intentions.

    When faced with holiday offerings — whether it’s calorie-packed egg nog or diet-derailing pigs-in-a-blanket — try to find a way to redirect the good intentions of your host or hostess. Politely decline, but show interest by asking for an alternative such as sparkling water or fruit. You can also try praising your host or hostess on the lovely holiday decorations, the amazing group of people they’ve assembled or how well they’re looking!

    3. Create and implement an action plan.

    NEVER ARRIVE HUNGRY to a holiday’s just too tempting to overeat! It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you don’t eat beforehand, you’ll find yourself downing the cheese, fried appetizers and holiday candy at the party. Instead, plan to arrive satisfied and ready to focus on the festivities and socializing. Alternatively, you can plan to bring your own healthy dish to share. Prepare a fruit or veggie platter to add to the holiday fare. A plate full of carrots, pepper slices and cucumbers will total less than 100 calories, whereas the same amount of crackers, cheese and dip can add up to 300 calories or more.

    In a pinch? Remember these two pre-party rules:

    • Never skip a meal before the party. You’ll arrive ravenous and vulnerable to overindulging.
    • If you cannot eat something before the party, drink a full glass of water once you arrive so that your stomach begins to feel full.

    4. Focus on the healthy stuff.

    It can’t be emphasized enough – if you focus on what you should include in your diet, like fruits and vegetables, instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat (fats and sweets), you’ll be good to go! Taking this inclusive approach to nutrition can improve weight loss success and your overall health.

    Another good strategy is to avoid excess alcohol. A mixed drink contains as many as 200-300 calories. If you stick to one glass of wine, you’ll cut that number in half. A 5-oz. glass of red wine contains about 125 calories and a plant nutrient called resveratrol that is thought to have heart-healthy benefits. The current nutrition guideline for alcohol is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Another important note about alcohol is that it can cloud judgment and lower your resolve when it comes to overeating. In other words, you may not be able to resist that dessert buffet after downing a cocktail!

    5. Politely decline.

    So what happens when you are prepared to be on your best behavior and your great aunt just won’t stop pushing food on you? Knock it out of the park with these polite responses to common food-pusher tactics:

    The pitch: “Try this dish. It’s what I’m famous for!”

    Your response: “It looks great. I’ll try some later.”

    The pitch: “It’s the holidays, you can splurge a bit!”

    Your response: “Everything looks delicious, but I know that once I start, I won’t be able to stop.”

    The pitch: “Have you tried that dish? It’s my favorite!”

    Your response: “Oh boy, I’m already so full. Maybe in a bit.”

    The pitch: “Your glass is empty. Let me get you another drink.”

    Your response: “Oh. No, thank you. I have to drive, and alcohol can make me sleepy.”

    Dieting – let alone dieting over the holidays – is no easy task! But remember that getting back on the wagon as soon as possible is what can “make or break you!” Even if you fall completely off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Too many people decide that once they’ve strayed from their healthy eating plan, they’re doomed. Instead, remember all of the good choices that you made prior to the “cheat,” and take pride in the progress you’ve already made. Just because you slip up at a holiday party or on New Year’s Eve, that in no way means you should quit. Pick your chin up and get back to the commitment you made to yourself to lose weight and feel great!

    What are some ways you’ll stay on your best behavior during the holidays? 


    Author: Kristen Ciuba
    Kristen is a Nutritionist at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. She tries to “practice what she preaches” by fitting in healthy foods and cooking, challenging exercise, and quality time with family and friends every day!  


    Surviving the Holidays
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