Don’t Let Holiday Foods Consume You

by Tara Conroy, C.H.H.C., AADP

Photo used under Creative Commons from Rodolphe Breard

This time of year there is a party for everything: office parties, neighborhood parties, family parties and parties with friends. While we don’t plan to over-do it, often that is the end result.

The problem, according to the National Institutes of Health, is that most of us never lose the weight we gain over the holidays. Even the smallest holiday weight gain of one pound adds up year after year.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “since this gain is not reversed during the spring or summer months, the net weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.” Some call it “creeping obesity.”

If you are one of the majority who love the holiday treats but don’t love the holiday weight gain, I have a few ideas for you.

  1. Eat before you go. Plan to eat healthy throughout the day so you don’t go to the party hungry. I have tried this for a few years now, and it really works. This way you won’t be tempted to rush straight to the food table and fill up a plate with everything you see.
  1. Take a healthy treat. One of my favorite treats to take to a party is Raw Brownie Truffles. All you need are 3 ingredients and a food processor. They take less time to make than it takes to heat up an oven for boxed brownies, and they are delicious!

Health and nutritional counseling in Pittsburgh PAIngredients:

  1. 1 cup walnuts
  2. 1 cup Medjool dates, pits removed (about 8)
  3. 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder or carob powder


Using a food processor, grind walnuts to fine powder

Add pitted dates and process again until blended

Add cocoa powder and process again

Shape into 1” balls and serve with toothpicks. Optional: roll in shredded coconut or cinnamon. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes and enjoy!


  1. Set some goals for yourself, such as
  • Fill your plate with more veggies and fruits, and less meats and cheeses
  • If you are going to eat dessert, choose dark chocolate over cheesecake, or take a small portion of 1-2 small treats instead of sampling all of them
  • Set a limit on how much alcohol you will drink, if any. Drink water when you have met your quota.
  1. Drink plenty of water, throughout the evening especially if you plan on drinking any alcoholic beverages, which can cause dehydration among other things.
  1. Make people, not food, the main thing. I have been to many parties where I spent so much time talking to old and new friends – or even dancing – that I hardly had time to refill my first beverage. What a difference that makes the next day!

So you can see I’m not suggesting that you deprive yourself, count calories, or skip the festivities altogether. Simply set some goals for how much you want to eat and drink before you head out the door, eat healthy throughout the day of the party, take a healthy treat and enjoy the company of others when you get there. You don’t need to do all of these things, of course.

Whatever you choose to do, have a very merry holiday season!

Bon Appetite,

Article © Local Wellness written by Tara Hill Conroy

If you are looking to make positive lifestyle changes or ways to improve your nutritional health, we can help! Please give us a call at 412-367-0575 or email us at to schedule an appointment with Health Coach Tara Conroy.

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