7 Tips For Eating Healthy During the Holidays

By: Vegetarian Times

We asked the instructor for our popular 6 Weeks to Plant Powered Weight Loss online course to give us her best tips for keeping up with healthful eating around the holidays. Besides these tips, check out Sara’s 80-plus healthful, easy-to-make recipes from the course.


These Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties are in our Plant Powered Weight Loss Course!

These Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties are in our Plant Powered Weight Loss Course!


Cookies! Pie! Eggnog!

The holidays are approaching quickly, which means you’ll soon be at holiday get-togethers featuring rich beverages, multiple mains, and decadent desserts that can disrupt your normal eating routine. Most people don’t want to give up holiday foods and parties, so go ahead and enjoy, but make a commitment to celebrate with mindfulness and balance. Below are seven simple tips to help you keep the pounds off now, so you can avoid resorting to extremes later.


7 Ways to Still Eat Healthy During the Holidays

1. If you don’t love it, leave it

Instead of piling your plate sky high with everything in sight, choose only the foods that you absolutely love, and the holiday treats that really excite you. If a food doesn’t thrill you, don’t put it on your plate.

2. Ditch the guilt

If you make a conscious choice to enjoy seasonal treats, give yourself permission to savor them guilt-free and then get right back on track with good eating habits.

3. Alternate alcoholic beverages with sparkling water

Avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether during the holidays may be tough, so when you do imbibe, alternate your cocktails with sparkling water. This will help cut down on calories and leave you feeling hydrated.

4. Say no to food pushers

Whether it’s your mother’s famous stuffing or your best friend’s holiday fudge, you might feel bad about refusing homemade treats even though your waistline is at risk. Remember you can smile, politely decline, and offer a compliment. They will still feel loved, and you haven’t had to compromise your health goals.

5. Don’t save up calories

Skipping meals in order to save up for a holiday party will backfire every single time. I repeat, every single time. Skipping meals can result in low blood sugar, which leads to cravings. Instead of saving up for a big meal, make sure to eat balanced meals and snack on fresh veggies and fruit throughout the day.

6. Don’t bring it in the house

To avoid the siren call of tempting foods, keep them out of your house, and load your refrigerator and pantry with fresh, healthful foods that are good for your mind and body.

7. Increase good fats 

Be sure to incorporate healthful fats in each meal and snack. They help you feel fuller longer and can help reduce cravings for sweets. Some good choices include avocados, raw nuts and seeds, almond butter, coconut, and coconut oil.

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    The cast-iron skillet is a true kitchen champ: it retains heat longer than steel, lasts forever, and gets more non-stick the more you use it. Plus, you can take it straight from stove or oven to table for pretty presentation. Here are our two favorites. READ MORE

  • sweet_onion
    How to Pick, Prep, and Cook with Sweet Onions
    By: Matthew Kadey | Comments (0)

    With their higher sugar and lower sulfur contents, sweet onions are less likely than ordinary storage onions to bring a tear to your eye. They taste milder too. Here’s how to choose them and use them while they’re in season. READ MORE

  • charcoal_cleanser
    The Dirt on The Newest Beauty Trend: Charcoal
    By: Elizabeth Barker | Comments (0)

    Here’s a surprising ally in clean living: activated charcoal, a natural ingredient turning up everywhere from bar soaps to toothbrushes. Here’s why you should give the trend a try. READ MORE

  • INHABIT - Scything
    Movie on a Mission: Inhabit
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    The result of a three-year odyssey in what director/cinematographer Costa Boutsikaris calls his “veggie-oil-solar-powered-filmmaking-mobile-unit” (a converted VW van), this film documents ecological design systems in action across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest. Here’s our chat with Boutsikaris. READ MORE

  • muesli
    3 Editor Picks for a Muesli Breakfast
    By: Tami Fertig | Comments (0)

    Move over, granola! For a quick-and-wholesome breakfast, VT staffers munch on muesli—a hearty mix of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Here are our favorites, plus four easy ways to enjoy them. READ MORE

  • sugar_in_fruit
    Can the Sugar in Fruit Make You Gain Weight?
    By: Matthew Kadey | Comments (4)

    Should you limit your trips to the fruit bowl if you’re trying to stay svelte? We investigate—and provide tips for smart snacking. READ MORE

  • Carolina head shot
    Veg Celeb: Carolina Sarassa
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (1)

    Anchor/correspondent for MundoFox National Network News, this three-time Emmy Award winner is also co-author of the true-crime book Dancing on Her Grave: The Murder of a Las Vegas Showgirl. An animal lover who’s adopted two cats and two dogs, Sarassa went vegetarian three years ago and is now vegan. READ MORE

  • ecofriendlycleaning
    Eco-Friendly Ways to Clean Your Kitchen Tools
    By: Charity Ferreira | Comments (1)

    One of the greenest things you 
can do in your kitchen is to invest in good-quality cookware and tools 
and then maintain them with care 
so that they last a long time. Here’s 
how to keep your cooking equipment sparkling clean and in tip-top condition—without using harsh chemicals. READ MORE

  • farmer_and_the_cook
    Veg Hot Spot: California’s The Farmer and the Cook
    By: Lisa Barley | Comments (0)

    Off the beaten path in Ojai, Calif., you’ll find this organic vegetarian market and restaurant, the realization of Steve Sprinkel and Olivia Chase’s farm-to-table dream. Since 2001, it has offered produce from Sprinkel’s 16-acre farm and 
a Mexican-inspired daily menu from Chase’s kitchen. READ MORE

  • cherimoya
    How to Pick, Prep, and Cook with Cherimoya
    By: Matthew Kadey | Comments (0)

    Don’t let its reptilian appearance deter you: this tropical fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple, mango, coconut, and vanilla. With its sweet, white flesh and velvety texture, cherimoya is also called custard apple. Here’s what to do with it while it’s in season. READ MORE

  • vegiversary_julie_dangelo
    Happy Vegiversary to VT Reader Julie D’Angelo!
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (0)

    Each month, we highlight a different reader’s “vegiversary”—the anniversary of when they went veg. Read this one, then share yours for a chance to be featured in the magazine. READ MORE

  • Marco_Headshot_crop
    Veg Celeb: Marco Antonio Regil
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (1)

    Helming Spanish-language versions of such iconic game shows such as The Price Is Right, this Mexican broadcaster currently hosts 100 Latinos Dijeron on MundoFOX. Regil went vegan in September 2006, after watching the PETA documentary Glass Walls. Here’s our chat with him. READ MORE

  • veg_budget
    Tell VT: What’s Your Best Tip for Eating Veg on a Budget?
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (59)

    Got a tried-and-true way to eat vegetarian or vegan for less? Share your comment here, and see what others have to say. Our favorite responses will be published in the next issue of the magazine. READ MORE

  • coffee_grinders
    High/Low: Coffee Grinders We Love
    By: Tami Fertig | Comments (1)

    Quit buying ground coffee! Grinding whole beans in a coffee grinder makes for a stronger, fresher-tasting brew (that’s packed with good-for-you antioxidants, to boot). Both of our favorite coffee grinders have conical burrs—not blades—to deliver the most consistent grind. READ MORE

  • cruelty_free_beauty
    How to Shop for Cruelty-Free Beauty Products
    By: Elizabeth Barker | Comments (2)

    Even as more and more companies add botanical beauty-boosters to their products, some still rely on animal-sourced ingredients, as well as chemicals that could mess with your health while wrecking the environment. Here’s how to scan labels for questionable ingredients. READ MORE

  • food_swaps
    How to Join a Food Swap
    By: Karen Edwards | Comments (0)

    Trading edibles may be a time-honored school ritual, but adults looking for more variety in their menus are getting into the act too. Options include food swaps, package swaps, garden swaps, and community-supported agriculture box swaps. 
Take your pick, and start swappin’. READ MORE

  • Spinach-Artichoke_Mini_Lasagnas_blog
    The Best of VT’s Reader Recipe Contests
    By: Vegetarian Times | Comments (0)

    Our readers make the best recipes. But don’t take our word for it. Just look at the winning creations from VT’s many reader recipe contests: we compiled the best of them (including the oh-so-creative spinach-artichoke mini lasagnas pictured above). Take a peek, then enter this year’s contest! READ MORE

  • beans_vegetarian_protein
    7 Top Protein Sources for Vegetarians
    By: Tami Fertig | Comments (1)

    Worried that you—or someone you love—won’t get enough protein without meat? Relax! By eating a variety of healthful veg foods, you can easily cover your protein bases. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of the most convenient and affordable protein-packed staples. READ MORE

  • high_heat_roasting
    How to Roast Vegetables Like a Pro
    By: Mary Margaret Chappell | Comments (1)

    Get out your baking sheet and preheat your oven: it’s veggie-roasting season! Here are six simple steps to roasting success (plus recipes). READ MORE

  • Elaine and goat
    Veg Celeb: Elaine Hendrix
    By: Amy Spitalnick | Comments (0)

    Best known for her roles in Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion and Disney’s The Parent Trap, this actress has a reputation as a matchmaker—a pet matchmaker, that is. So much so that she’s teamed up with Sideshow Network for The Pet Matchmaker Podcast. The vegan and animal activist here READ MORE

  • mini_meals_myth
    Will Grazing on Mini-Meals Help You Lose Weight?
    By: Matthew Kadey | Comments (0)

    Or is it better to eat fewer, larger meals to shed pounds? We investigate—and provide tips for smarter snacking between meals. READ MORE