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Four tips to help you feel more control around food over the holidays

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  • Written By: Jamie Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD
Four tips to help you feel more control around food over the holidays

Holidays are incredibly stressful for people who are trying to influence their health by nourishing their body. The abundance of seasonal foods and treats, plus constant pressure to eat, contribute to circumstances that might result in food choices that are not what we would have made on our own. Here are some strategies to enjoy the holidays without feeling out of control around food:

  1. Embrace the grey area. Holiday foods do not have to be all-or-nothing. There is a lot of space in the grey area to choose the foods you enjoy most, in quantities that are satisfying. You do not have to eat all the foods, and you can have whatever amount of a food you want. If you over- or underestimate the amount of food you’d like to have, you can always leave some on your plate or go back for more.
  2. Let your body guide you. We all have an innate ability to know when we are hungry and when we are full. We know how much energy we have and we know when we just do not feel quite right. Allow yourself space to take time to listen to your body. Maybe you realize that you’ve mostly subsisted on meat and cheese plates, and need some carbs for energy. Or maybe you’ve enjoyed cookies and find that you’re still feeling hungry, so you need something more robust with protein to help you feel content. Perhaps a balance of light, crisp veggies or fruit help to balance out lots of heavy foods for a filling yet refreshing meal.
  3. Set yourself up for success. If you find that you spend much of your holiday focused on or worrying about food and find it all-consuming, create “escapes” for yourself. Take the dog for a walk or kids outside to play, move to a different room to have a conversation with someone else, or even sneak away for a nap if that’s what would feel best. Thinking about food constantly can feel intense, and it is okay to take yourself out of a food situation if you need a break.
  4. Recognize that there is no “perfect” way to eat. This is always true, but it can be a slippery slope at holidays to decide that we’ll allow ourselves x amount of food and then be upset with ourselves when we wanted and ate more than that amount. We can’t know ahead of time what will be most enjoyable or what amount will be satisfying, so it is important to be aware that there will be variation and our expectations may not be met.

Jamie Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at Campbell County Health. For a one-on-one nutrition counseling session, call 307.688.1731. Learn more at

  • Category: Nutrition, Wellness