Tip: With a smart eating plan, you can enjoy the holidays without the post-New Year guilt hangover.

by the Chef Marshall O'Brien Group


With the holidays upon us, we are at full throttle preparing for celebrations, hosting family and friends, and attending party after party. The average person will emerge from these festive months heavier than they were in October, mostly because they lack a smart plan for staying on track when faced with all the holiday buffets. These tips will help you enjoy the holidays without the post-New Year weight gain and guilt hangover.

Don’t Go to a Party Hungry

We are taught from a young age that celebrations involve food. Most of us probably learned it with our first birthday cake! Try to shift the focus this holiday season so the primary purpose of a party is to spend time with friends and loved ones. Making sure you don’t go to the party with an empty stomach can help immensely. 

Create Your Own Safe Zone

In your home kitchen, you control the food environment so it is easy to stay on track – this is your safe zone. Holiday parties are unsafe zones, where it is much easier to make choices that will keep you from feeling your best. Be strategic – create your own safe zone by bringing an appealing dish that fits your plan. Our recipe for turkey wraps is an easy, delicious addition to the holiday buffet that you and your friends can feel good about eating. When choosing food from an unsafe zone, scan all of the offerings and choose small tastes of those that appeal to you. You can always go back for more if something tastes exceptional.

Indulge in Foods that are Worth It

Most of us indulge in some way during the holidays. The key is to choose to indulge, rather than to do it mindlessly. When you decide to indulge, opt for treats that look “special” and homemade. Store-bought, pre-packaged appetizers and baked goods often contain ingredients such as hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and preservatives. Not only are these unhealthy, but they will not taste nearly as good as their home-baked alternatives. And when you eat a special treat, savor it with your full attention so you are left feeling satisfied.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol provides empty calories and fast carbs that quickly add up to weight gain. The average beer or glass of wine contains 100-150 calories. Fancy cocktails may provide a whopping 500 calories due to additional sweet ingredients. Studies show that drinking your calories does not quell your hunger, so you will still be eyeing that holiday buffet, despite several trips to the punch bowl.

Forgive Yourself and Get Back on Track

Whatever happens, remember tomorrow is another day. Try not to linger on feelings of guilt that will only tarnish your experience of the holidays. Wellness is a choice we make each day. Wake up and get back on your plan. Renew your efforts by making smart food choices when you are back in your safe zone.

You will love the way you feel!

The Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.