The holiday season is almost here, and the way I typically approach the holidays is by eating what I want and trying to diet (usually unsuccessfully) later.  How can I break this cycle and try to stay healthy through the holidays? – Hungry for the Holidays

Good for you for wanting to nip this cycle in the bud!  It’s much easier for your body and mind to consistently maintain a healthy lifestyle than to allow yourself to binge for a month and then try to make up for it later.  It’s all about changing your mindset.  Here are 5 of my best tried-and-true tips for battling the vices of holiday gatherings:

  1. Eat before the party.  Have a light, healthy meal or snack before you go to a party.  By not arriving hungry, you’ll stave off the temptation to start picking at the food display immediately.  If and when hunger does creep up on you, it’s fine to grab a snack, but don’t make food the focus of the event.  Instead, enjoy what parties are really about: being with friends and family!.
  2. Think small.  It’s unrealistic to say that you won’t eat or drink anything when you go to a party, but you can still avoid overeating.  Especially when it comes to rich desserts or hors d’oeuvres, it’s ok to allow yourself the rare indulgence, but keep it small.  You know how the 2nd slice of pizza never tastes as good?  Case in point.  If you’re really dying to taste something, then go for it—but leave it at a taste.  If you enjoy sampling lots of different things, find a tasting partner to share with you.  You’ll get to enjoy variety without the excess calories.

    Kids and adults alike will love these pesto stuffed cherry tomatoes!

  3. Choose carefully.  Survey all the options before making a plate.  Look for colors!  Processed foods are usually in the bland beige/white color  category, so scope out brightly colors dishes with fruits and veggies.  Think about what seems “worth the calories” and choose based on what’s most special or satisfying to you personally.  Once it’s on your plate, you’re more likely to eat it, so be picky about what makes the cut.
  4. Drink water.  For every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water.  This will help you moderate your alcohol intake while keeping you hydrated.  The calories in your cup count, too!
  5. Bring a healthy dish.  If it’s appropriate to do so, volunteer to bring a healthy option to share.  This helps ensure that you won’t get stuck eating high calorie foods out of hunger.  Consider bringing this simple Pesto-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes recipe from Appetite for Life which is always a party pleaser.

– Stacey Antine, M.S. R.D., author, Appetite for Life and founder, HealthBarn USA

Do you have a confession to share with Stacey?  Want to learn how to improve an unsavory habit?  Send your stories our way to [email protected], and Stacey will help!


Pesto-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes



30 cherry tomatoes

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Basil Pesto



  1. Cut each cherry tomato in half. With tip of spoon, scrape out pulp; discard or add to a soup.  Place tomato halves, cut sides down, on large plate to drain; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with foil.
  3. Prepare Basil Pesto as recipe directs; reserve ½ cup + 2 tablespoons.
  4. Fill tomato halves with pesto (about ½ teaspoon per half).
  5. Place stuffed tomatoes on prepared baking cookie sheet.  Bake tomatoes 5–10 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Cool slightly before serving.

Makes 6 servings (10 halves per serving).


Nutrition Facts per serving70 calories; 5g fat (1g sat fat, 3g mono, 1g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 5g carbohydrate (2g fiber, 2g sugar); 3g protein; 40mg sodium; 35% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 25% DV vitamin C; 6% DV calcium; 6% DV iron.

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