Holiday Eating

(As seen in the Scottsdale Independent.)

When it comes to holiday treats, Sun Health registered dietitian Tracy Garrett is no Scrooge.

How can I eat healthy during the holidays, when there are so many tempting treats? 

Moderation can be a tough pill to swallow any time of year. But, the “M” word can be a real “bah-humbugger” during the holidays when food, glorious food, is everywhere.

Fear not. With a little planning and mindfulness, you can “have your Christmas cookies and eat them too.” Here are some tips to help you eat, drink and be merry…in moderation,
of course.

Pare down portions at the party – Use a smaller plate and fill at least half of it with healthier fare like vegetables or fruit.

Skip the naughty, high-fat spreads and dips, fried food and rich
desserts. Stand or sit away from the food table to prevent mindless munching.
Baby bites – Take smaller bites and chew more slowly and mindfully.

Take time to notice the tastes and smells of your food.

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Wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds; that’s about how long it takes for our brain to signal our stomach that it’s full.
Think before you drink – Mull your beverage choices before bending your elbow.

Drink plenty of water before and during the party and limit sweetened drinks or alcohol to one drink per day.
Pre-party prep – On the day of the holiday party, consume high-fiber and lean-protein foods, which will stick to your ribs more and reduce hunger. Apples, broth-based soup, Greek
yogurt, a low-fat cheese stick with high-fiber crackers, hummus with raw veggies, a small handful of nuts or edamame all do a nice job of filling the old bread basket with healthy stuff.

Move those mistletoes – Don’t “X out” exercise during the holidays. Sure, it’s a busy time but don’t use that as an excuse to excuse yourself from working out.

Regular physical activity is a gift that keeps on giving.

Tracy Garrett - Sun Health Center For Health & WellnessHealthy holidays to all and to all a good “bite!”

Tracy Garrett is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise. For more information about the center, call 623-455-5633 
or go to

Information in this column is provided by health professionals at the Sun Health Center for Health and Wellbeing. However, it should not be substituted for medical advice from your physician. If you have a health question, please email it to


(Originally published Dec. 16, 2015; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)

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