As we well know, the holiday season is often a time of overindulgence when we find it difficult to stick to healthy lifestyle patterns. All those cookies, buffet tables, festive dinners, cocktail party foods, and hectic days offer challenges to the most disciplined among us. This year, to help navigate, we have enlisted the experts – chefs and health professionals and all around food aficionados – to offer ideas on how to enjoy the holidays without compromising your health. 

“You probably don’t go to a restaurant and order everything on the menu, so why go to a party and taste everything that’s offered? Eat like you do if you go out to dinner on a weeknight. Have a few appetizers, a main course and dessert — and go home feeling good, as you normally would.”

- Amanda Hesser, food columnist for The New York Times, author and founder of Food52


“Carry healthy snacks.  Have a plan, be as organized as possible with your meals for the day and the week, and then your routine is easy to stick to.  Having a plan ensures you won’t be too hungry and will have some will power when the tray of cookies comes around (the second time)!

- Ana Sortun, chef, restaurateur and cookbook author


“It’s of utmost importance to enjoy the celebration of the holidays but make sure that everything is, to paraphrase Julia Child, ‘in moderation.’ When you roast that turkey, roast a slightly smaller one. When you cut that pie, cut a smaller piece. When you eat that casserole, make it a smaller portion. I like to be sated in life, not stuffed like a pinata. And get out of the house and go for a walk in the neighborhood you live in, wave at those neighbors, and enjoy your community.”

- Hugh Acheson, chef, restaurateur and cookbook author


“Regardless of what you are eating, slow down and savor. Whether it is your Aunt Milley’s butter cookies or a crisp apple, allow your enjoyment to register; when you do this you end up eating smarter portions and appreciate your food more.”

- Ellie Krieger, dietitian, chef and host of Food Network’s, “Healthy Appetite”


“Give holiday recipes a healthy makeover.  Some of our best meal makeover tips include the following:

  • Crisps and crumbles are typically topped with a sugary, buttery, flour mixture.  Instead, create a healthier topping with oats, nuts, and a bit of brown sugar and oil.
  • Swap out half the white flour for whole-wheat flour in baked goods.
  • When making casseroles that call for a cream sauce, make it with low fat milk and cheese to slash the fat and calories.
  • Holiday beverages can get a makeover too.  Choose low fat eggnog instead of the usual full-fat version, make hot chocolate with low fat milk, and add some bubbly to the party by mixing seltzer water with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice.”

- Liz Weiss & Janice Bissex, dietitians and The Meal Makeover Moms



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