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Holiday eating guide: the ONE healthy eating tip you need to know Print

No bad foods, just bad diets

Holiday eating doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Don’t be a scrooge and nitpick your favorite holiday treats and make family and friends that are celebrating traditional foods feel badly.  There are no bad foods, just bad overall diets.

It’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s, but what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas that really counts. 

Health should be measured by your ability to eat FULLY – healthfully and soulfully with fun and flexibility.

Also be mindful that overeating occasionally will never result in permanent lasting weight changes.  The goal over the holidays is to be mindful but not obsessive.

Instead, choose to work around “non-negotiable” foods (those that are your favorites or are unique to a social gathering).  Be choosy and go for what you really love.  Give up others that are eaten mindlessly or are just simply chosen for convenience or offered at the holidays and you really don’t appreciate them.  When you are eating a delightful food, savor every bite guilt-free.  When you eat this way less always becomes more.

Make your list positive!

Many of my clients think about the holidays and start creating a mental list of “foods to avoid” or “foods that are bad.” Instead, make your list positive.  Think about which of these foods would make it to the top of the list for “yummiest holiday foods” list.   There is a distinct level of satisfaction when you allow yourself to indulge and truly enjoy every bite of your favorite holiday foods.

At the top of my list, you will find my mom’s homemade shortbread cookies, gingerbread men and of course chocolate (after all I am the chocoholic nutritionist). I will likely enjoy rum and eggnog and since it will likely be once or twice over the holidays, the fact that it has over 300 calories per cup doesn’t matter.

Holiday eating tips

While the above strategy may sound simple finding the balance between eating enough healthy food and figuring out how to enjoy tasty sweets and savory treats guilt-free isn’t always easy.  It can also be confusing to figure out the answer to the question “how much is too much?”  

If you need help with personalized advice to help you navigate these questions, our Calgary nutritionist team can help. We are experienced Registered Dietitians that specialize in health without guilt or complexity.  We want to help you to eat well but still have a life that includes fun foods chosen for taste and social enjoyment.  To book an appointment for nutrition counselling online by video conferencing, by phone or at our Calgary office CONTACT US.

PS you might also want to check out these 32-recipes for the holidays by Registered Dietitians here: Holiday Recipes

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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