Holiday Eating Tips

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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

By Yasmin Firouzman, RD

The holidays are here again! This is a time to celebrate with family, friends and food. Unfortunately, it is also a time when we run into problems with weight gain. Remember, your healthy eating habits don't have to stop during the holidays. This holiday season we want you to count your blessings and not your calories. You can enjoy everything, but in moderation. So, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Here are some tips that you can use:

Watch your portions: Treat yourself to all of your favorite dishes, but in small portions. Moderation is the key.

Be realistic: Don't try to lose weight during the holidays. Instead, focus on maintaining your weight.

Don't go to a party hungry: This can lead to overeating. It is best to eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day of the party.

Eat Slowly: Spend 20 minutes on your meals. Eating slowly leads to less food consumption.

Avoid unconscious eating: Eat when you are hungry and not because food is near. It is best to avoid socializing near the food.

Drink plenty of water: Alcohol can dehydrate your body. Drink water to keep yourself hydrated and help fill up your stomach.

Plan time to exercise: Exercise can relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Try walking for 10-15 minutes, twice a day.

Watch the drinks: Alcohol may go down easily, but is full of calories.

Make a healthy dish: Take a healthy dish to share to all holiday events. That way you know there will be at least one healthy item there for you to enjoy.

Practice healthy holiday cooking: Try the following cooking tips for a healthier alternative to some popular holiday dishes.

  • Mashed potatoes: Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic and parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  • Gravy: Refrigerate the gravy to harden the fat. Once hardened, remove all visible fat.
  • Green bean casserole: Cook fresh green beans with cubed potato pieces instead of cream soup. Top with sliced and roasted almonds instead of fried onions.
  • Healthy holiday nog: 4 bananas, 1.5 cups skim milk, 1.5 cups plain nonfat yogurt, and ¼ teaspoon rum extract. Blend until smooth and top with ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Servings size: Approximately 8
  • Desserts: Substitute 2 egg whites for each egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce or sprinkle with powdered sugar instead of frosting.

Happy Holidays from the UCLA Bariatric Department!

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