Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle Through the Holidays: DOs and DON'Ts

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Through the Holidays: DOs and DON’Ts

Tis the season for holiday parties, food-related treats, and off-kilter schedules. It’s great fun, but if your family is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you may be wondering what can be done to prevent it from spiraling of control.

The good news is that it is possible for your family to enjoy themselves while still sustaining a healthy diet and lifestyle! The key is planning. We recommend the following tips to our families in the HealthWorks! program, as they are trying to accomplish similar things through this busy time of year:

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Through
the Holidays: DOs and DON’Ts

In General:


DO:  Incorporate physical activity into your holiday traditions. It will help energize you for the rest of the day’s activities and will also help you work off all of those holiday treats. Walking, hiking, ice skating, biking, rollerblading, participating in 5Ks, and taking classes are all great ways to spend time with friends and family. 
DO:  Try to keep your healthy diet on track when you’re not in the middle of holiday celebrations. Variety, balance and moderation are strategies for success. Use the USDA’s Choose My Plate as a guide.




DON’T try to do it all! It’s okay to say “no” to something if it means more sanity for you and your family. 


DO: Take water with you so that you don’t get dehydrated. Hunger can be mistaken for dehydration.
DO: Pack a healthy lunch or snacks with you if you’re going to be out and about for a while.




DON’T shop or run holiday errands when you’re hungry. You may indulge more than you’d prefer.
DON’T grab the first food you see if you stop to eat while you’re out. See if there are healthy options available.


DO: Scope out the food table and decide which foods you really want to eat before making your choices. Balance high-calorie favorites with low-calorie options such as fruits and veggies.
DO: Plan ahead and balance your meals the rest of the day. For example, if you’re going to a dinner party, enjoy small, low-calorie meals earlier in the day.
DO: Drink lots of water before attending the party. It is filling and has zero calories.
DO: Plan to bring a healthy, low-calorie dish. A veggie tray with yogurt dip makes a great appetizer. Or, look for ways to make your favorites healthier.


DON’T go to the party hungry – hunger leads to overeating. Eat a snack or small meal before leaving, such as a piece of fruit, bowl of soup, or a salad.
DON’T: Don’t stand around the food table. Take what you want and leave the area so that you’re not continually tempted.
DON’T: Don’t skip once-a-year favorites. Instead, enjoy smaller portions. For example, if you can’t resist grandma’s cheesecake, eat a small portion and enjoy. Skip the foods you can live without. 
DON’T bring home high calorie leftovers. It’s hard to resist them when they’re sitting in your refrigerator!


HealthWorks! is a family-based program for children and teens with overweight or obesity conditions, and promotes healthier eating habits and increased physical activities. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 513-636-4305.

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Shelly Frank, RD, LD

About the Author: Shelly Frank, RD, LD

Shelly Frank, RD, LD is a clinical dietitian with the Center for Better Health and Nutrition and the HealthWorks! programs within Cincinnati Children's Heart Institute. Shelly has been providing pediatric weight management services at Cincinnati Children’s for over 15 years.

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