• Health & Wellness

    Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 tips from a dietitian on managing holiday indulgences 

Whether it's work parties, social gatherings or family get-togethers, December joins people for holidays and social events centered around plenty of food and drinks. But overindulging during the holiday season can bring unwelcome consequences.

Andrea Delgado, a Mayo Clinic dietitian, shares three tips to help manage holiday indulgences this season.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

However you celebrate the holidays, there is likely to be an excess of food at your fingertips. And that usually means lots of sugar and perhaps alcohol.

Delgado says you can manage indulgences during the holidays with these three tips.

"No. 1: Don't choose to go on a diet right before the holidays," she says.

Instead, pay attention to how much and how often you're eating.

"No. 2: Don't beat yourself up. If you do overindulge, it's OK to make a plan moving forward at the next party, at the next gathering," says Delgado. 

Allow yourself to choose different items and portion sizes next time. What you drink matters too.

a glass of water sitting on a table with two slices of lemon nearby
Make water your drink of choice

"No. 3: Stay hydrated. Oftentimes what we neglect most is staying hydrated, and we choose sugary beverages or alcohol, which can add a lot of added calories, empty calories that we can save by drinking water," she says.

Water should be your main beverage every day, including the holidays

More strategies to manage holiday indulgences

Prioritize physical activity:

  • Keep physical activity as a priority, even during busy holiday seasons.
  • Consider morning walks or light exercises before celebrations.
  • Enjoy the festivities without compromising your health.

Plan ahead for food choices:

  • Eat something healthy before attending parties to avoid extreme hunger.
  • Opt for fruits and nuts to curb cravings.
  • Decide in advance what you'll eat, and focus on healthier options.

Mindful alcohol consumption:

  • Alcoholic drinks contribute calories and increase hunger.
  • Alternate alcoholic beverages with low-calorie options, such as carbonated water.
  • Be mindful of your alcohol intake.

Self-compassion matters:

  • Don't give up or feel unhappy about managing weight during the holidays.
  • Be kind to yourself and enjoy the season with a little effort.

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