Insider’s Viewpoint: Indulge without the Bulge

The holidays are coming up, which means lots of food, fun, and family time. This can be a troublesome time of year to stay on track with healthy eating, which may lead to weight gain. To help avoid weight gain and stay on track this year, check out these tips to keep your holidays happy and healthy.

6 Tips to Help You Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays

  1. Focus on Fruits & Veggies. If you are in charge of a holiday meal you have more control over what is in the dish. This gives you the option to make things healthier. Prepare a fruit and vegetable tray as an appetizer, make half your plate fruits and vegetables during the meal, and even incorporate fruit into the desserts.
  2. Choose Healthier Ingredients. When shopping for ingredients choose foods that are lower in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Choose lean meats to reduce fat, and foods that have reduced sodium on their labels. Following these tips means you will likely be incorporating fruits and vegetables into your holiday!
  3. Bring Your Own. If you are not in charge of preparing the meal you can always bring a healthy dish. Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables and choose lean meats from what is available.
  4. Portion Size. Another thing to remember during the holidays is portion size. It is easy to overeat and indulge at a party with friends and family. While munching and mingling you may not realize how many hors d’oeuvres you are eating, and because the food is so delicious you may be more prone to load up your plate during a meal. It is helpful to keep MyPlate in mind not only during the meal, but also when eating hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
  5. Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages also play a part in weight gain during the holidays since they are loaded with extra calories. The current recommendation for men is no more than two drinks per day, and for women it is no more than one drink per day.
  6. Keep Exercising! The last thing to remember is to stick to your exercise plan! If you are eating a few extra calories during the holidays staying active will help keep those extra pounds at bay. Even though the holidays are a busy time, keeping active is important. Ask your friends and family to join you for a walk after dinner, or exercise together if you are staying with one another. Use it as family bonding time.

In summary, choose healthy options when eating during the holidays to reduce weight gain. If you are preparing the meal you can use lower fat, sodium, and cholesterol options, and focus on fruits and vegetables. You also still have options if you are not preparing the meal. Bring a healthy side dish or dessert. Remember to limit alcohol consumption to reduce calories, and try to fit in some physical activity!


Poached Pears


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 ½ cups 100% grape juice
  • 4 pears, peeled and halved, leaving stem intact
  • 2 strips orange rind


  1. In a medium sauce pan bring the grape juice, cinnamon, and orange rind to a boil.
  2. Place the pears upright with the stem on top into the saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium to low heat.
  3. Make sure to keep the pears moist by spooning the juice over them as the simmer.
  4. Remove pears from the sauce, reserve and cool completely.
  5. Simmer the remaining sauce and reduce it to about 1/3 of a cup.
  6. Remove from heat and cool.
  7. Drizzle the sauce over the pears when ready to serve and garnish with whipped cream or vanilla pudding.

Nutritional Information: Calories 146, Total fat 0g, Protein 1g, Carbohydrates 39g, Cholesterol 0mg, Dietary fiber 4.5g, Sodium 25mg
Apple, Pear and Cornbread Stuffing.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 apple, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pear, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cup cornbread, cubed and air dried for 2 days


  1. In a large pan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onions and celery, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the apples and pears, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high; add fresh herbs, salt, pepper and broth, and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the cornbread cubes and mix thoroughly.
  6. Once the stuffing is heated through, remove from heat and place in a large covered casserole dish. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Caroline Passerrello, MS, RD, LDN
Manager of Dietitian Initiatives
Giant Eagle, Inc.

Christine Sweeney
Adagio Dietetic Intern
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