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Provided Courtesy of Where health care professionals go for information. Holiday Eating Survival Tips. Review Date 10/09 G-1103. Contributed by Shawna Gornick-Ilagan, MS, RD, CWPC. Weight Gain During the Holidays.

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Provided Courtesy of

Where health care professionals go

for information

Holiday Eating

Survival Tips

Review Date 10/09 G-1103

Contributed by Shawna Gornick-Ilagan, MS, RD, CWPC


Weight Gain During the Holidays

  • Does the average American really gain 5-10 pounds (lb) over the holidays?
  • How does weight gain occur?
    • 3500 food calories=1 lb of fat
what does 500 calories look like
What Does 500 Calories Look Like?

Bob Evans: One Slice of Pumpkin Pie


No Such Thing as a ‘Bad’ Food

  • How much and how often you eat higher-calorie, higher-fat foods is what is bad

Two Ways to Manage Weight

  • Portion Control


  • Substitution



How Important Is It?

How important is it for you to manage your weight during the holidays?



Are Trick-or-Treaters Growing?

  • About 30% of children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese
  • Approximately 30% of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese

Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight

  • Offer treats such as stickers, pencils, Play-Doh, glow sticks, or miniature candy bars
  • Introduce the Switch Witch, who comes at night like the Tooth Fairy and replaces the child’s candy with toys
  • Have children sell back their candy (to their parents) for money or books
16 oz canned pumpkin

½ C Egg Beaters®

12 fl oz canned evaporated skim milk

½ C sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

4 squares of graham crackers, crushed

Low-Fat Crustless Pumpkin Pie

In a medium bowl, mix pumpkin, Egg Beaters, sugar, and spices. Add evaporated milk and mix well. Pour into 9″ pie pan sprayed with nonstick coating. Bake in 350º F oven for approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle graham crackers over cooled pie.

Serves eight. Per slice: 7 g fat, 25.4 g carbohydrate

pick your turkey wisely
Pick Your Turkey Wisely

Dark Meat Dark Meat White Meat With Skin No Skin No Skin


Valentine’s Day

  • One regular box of Sweethearts®=110 calories
  • One sugar-free box of Sweethearts=70 calories

Valentine’s Day (cont’d)

  • Think of nonfood alternatives:
    • A teddy bear
    • Flowers
    • Jewelry
    • Cologne

Easter or Passover

  • Jelly beans (1.4 oz)
    • 15 large or 35 small
  • Save 67 calories
reunions and parties
Reunions and Parties

Did you know…

2 Tbsp icing=150 calories


The 3 Ts

  • To help manage your weight during the holidays:
  • Tips
  • Tricks
  • Techniques

Holiday Recipe Modification

  • Alter recipes to reduce fat and calories
  • Substitute skim milk and low-fat sour cream for higher-fat products
  • Look at the calories and fat you can save by making small changes

Holiday Recipe Modification (cont’d)

  • Try switching from:
  • Evaporated milk (whole) to evaporated milk (skim)
    • Save 191 calories and 24 grams (g) of fat for 12 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Heavy cream to evaporated skim milk
    • Save 600 calories and 80 g fat for every cup
  • Butter or margarine to fat-free butter spread
    • Save 95 calories and 10 g fat/tablespoon (Tbsp)

Holiday Recipe Modification (cont’d)

  • Try switching from:
  • Regular cream cheese to lite or fat-free
    • Save between 40-70 calories and 5-10 g of fat/1 oz
  • Regular ground beef to 93% lean ground turkey or 92% lean
    • Save 180 calories and 22 g fat/4 oz

Holiday Recipe Modification (cont’d)

  • Try:
  • Reducing oil in recipes
    • Saves you approximately 110 calories and 13 g fat for every tablespoon reduced 

Little Extras Add Up

  • Cutting a mere 100 calories/day will allow you to lose (or not gain) 10 lb in 1 year

Drink, Drink, Drink

  • Drink often—you will eat less
  • Choose calorie-free fluids
  • Think about it—are you hungry or thirsty?
  • Reward yourself with the many benefits of drinking water

Take Time to Plan

  • Plan what you will take to parties
  • Pick your ingredients wisely
  • vs

Learn About Food Substitutes

  • Bring your own salad dressing, diet soda, and low-fat or low-salt condiments
  • Reduce those calories by understanding how many calories and how much fat you can save

What Does This Mean?

  • Switching from 2 Tbsp regular ranch dressing to 2 Tbsp fat-free Italian dressing saves you 265 calories
  • Walking 1 hour at 4 mph, 8000 steps, burns 273 calories for a 150-lb person

What Does This Mean?

  • Switching from regular soda to diet will save you about 150 calories/12-fl-oz can
  • Walking 30 minutes at 4 mph (4000 steps) burns 136 calories for a 150-lb person

Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)

  • ADI: The US Food and Drug Administration says it is the amount that you can consume over a lifetime that will not result in injury, even after a lifetime of exposure

No People Pleasing

  • Eat only what you desire
  • Do not eat as an obligation to others, even if they have cooked your favorite dish
  • Make sure you make your own decisions—you are the one who will have to live with the consequences
  • Stand up for yourself—others may actually respect you for it

Practice Assertiveness Skills

  • Turn down certain extra helpings of food without feeling guilty

Portion Distortion

  • We do not need as much as we may think

Strive for a Healthy Plate

  • One fourth plate protein
  • One fourth plate grain
  • One fruit
  • One dairy
  • One half plate nonstarch vegetables

Carry Food on a Napkin

  • Which would you put more food on?

Eat Smaller Portions

  • Allow yourself to taste what you want in smaller portions, so as not to feel deprived
  • Avoid binges—once you start to feel deprived, you may set yourself up for bingeing

Choose to Eat Healthy Ahead of Time

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables
  • Do not forget to eat breakfast
  • Do not think: “I already blew it. I might as well blow it more.”

No Skipping Meals

  • This will only result in a binge at mealtime and a spiral of guilt and hopelessness


  • Visualize yourself eating healthy prior to attending the holiday meal
  • Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Stay Focused

  • Know what you are doing
  • Keep a journal

The Consequences of Nibbling

  • Watch what you eat before or after the main meal
  • For example, look at what was consumed at this graduation party:

Chew Slowly

  • Take your time
  • Allow yourself to taste your food—different areas of the tongue have different taste buds
  • Enjoy the flavor and texture of food
  • Put your fork down between each bite

Mint-Flavored Gum And Mouthwash

  • While preparing food, chew gum
  • Instead of seconds, try some mouthwash first


  • Exercise more often or a bit longer and harder for a week prior to the holiday meal to compensate for the additional calories you may consume

No Guilt Attached

  • Make a conscious effort to choose what you are eating without having guilt attached

Manage Your Emotions

  • Have a plan for what you will do if strong emotions arise when faced with certain situations or family members

Eating Because of Emotion

  • Lonely: Call, e-mail, or text a friend
    • Do not make food a companion
  • Bored: Find a hobby
    • Understand that eating is not an extracurricular activity
  • Sad: Write in a journal or talk with a friend
    • Identify why you are sad
  • Upset/frustrated: Identify the source
    • Acknowledge that eating will not change feelings and frustration

Eating Because of Emotion (cont’d)

  • Happy: Learn to celebrate without food
  • Tired: Get some rest
    • Caffeine overload will not replace sleep
  • Stressed: Take “10” for yourself and find a relaxing activity
  • Worried/anxious: Remind yourself that many things in life are beyond your control
    • Use positive self-talk
    • “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”— Benjamin Franklin

Stop Eating

  • Stop eating when you are physically full
  • Start learning how to recognize the difference

Physical Hunger

Emotional Hunger


Take Time-Outs

  • Take a time-out when you think things are getting out of control

Know the Truth

  • Putting a couple of pounds on will not cause you to go back to square one
  • You have already learned what is healthy
  • No can take that away from you

After the Holidays

  • Resume your lifestyle of balance and wellness just after the holiday has passed
  • Change you thinking, if you need to
  • Do not think, “I already blew it, so I might as well blow some more.”