The Roundup -

Holiday Healthy Eating


The holidays can be a tough time for healthy eating. From the pies to the twice baked potatoes to the bacon wrapped everything, no matter which way you look there’s a reason to stray from your healthy diet. For some reason people tend to put off healthy eating during the Holidays, maybe it’s because their New Year’s Resolution is and always has been “start eating healthy.” The thing is, when you look up the definition of diet the first description says the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. When most people refer to a diet they’re referring to restriction of what they eat, and as a nutritionist this is something I wish we would all move past. A diet is something that should taste amazing, be fresh, filling and colorful, nurture our bodies and bring pleasure to our lives. It’s not something that we should hate to be on and look forward to coming off after we lose 20 pounds just to mysteriously gain it back a few months later. A diet should be full of a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, protein, nuts, seeds, grains and water. The point being this- even pie and cookies can fit into a healthy diet if you stay realistic about it. All year long.

The absolute most important things when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet are portion control and moderation. Without proper portion control we lose track of what foods and how much food we’ve eaten in a day. We tend to have three or four portions of the stuffed mashed potatoes and then guilt ourselves into not eating any of the broccoli raisin salad or baked sweet potatoes. If you were to allow yourself a little bit of everything (be realistic about the little part), without splurging on the things you know to be calorically dense and nutritionally pathetic, why would that not fit into a healthy diet? A healthy diet is not about surviving on celery sticks and string cheese, it’s about understanding that the food we eat needs to provide good nutrition to our bodies and peace to our minds. Portion control means not overeating and moderation means not over doing it on the foods that should be considered special treats. A healthy diet should make you happy and feel good, if your diet doesn’t then I’d recommend you consider what changes could be made. A diet is not something that should start and stop, a diet is something that should last forever and only get better as you learn more about good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

The members of the Richland County Nutrition Coalition love the Holiday season. We have some recipes shared on our Pinterest page and other health tips posted on our Facebook. We have come up with three Holiday tips to get you through this Holiday season leaving the guilt behind:

Eat a light meal before you attend any Holiday party. It’s similar to the tip of not grocery shopping while hungry. The hungrier you are at these dinner parties the harder it will be to pass up seconds or thirds on some tasty but calorie-packed foods.

Don’t opt out of the “healthy” dishes that you see vegetables in. The non-starchy vegetables are very low in calories and are great fillers in Holiday dishes. Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, beets, carrots and lettuce. Keep an eye on these dishes though, they’re often mixed with other high calorie ingredients like mayonnaise, creamed soups and dressings which cause calories to add up fast.

Drink water. Skip out on the punch, juice and other sugary drinks. They provide no nutrition and a lot of calories to an already high-calorie meal. If a lower calorie meal is what you’re after try to limit or avoid alcohol too. Alcohol is high in calories- as a matter of fact there is about 7 calories in every gram of alcohol and to put that into perspective there’s 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate.

Whether you’re already eating a healthy diet, interested in making the wonderful transition or not quite ready to take the leap, keep in mind portion control and moderation this holiday season. Like us on Facebook and check out our Pinterest page at

The mission of the Richland County Nutrition Coalition (RCNC) is to identify and address food and nutrition needs of the community. RCNC strives to emphasize and encourage education and personal growth in the area of nutrition.

For more information on the Richland County Nutrition Coalition, or ways to be involved, contact Gina Heckey at 406.488.2273.


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