8 Ways To Avoid Holiday Landmines

Family gathering

The weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are like a battlefield littered with landmines. Turkey and all the trimmings, holiday parties, goodies left in the office kitchen, creamy eggnog, candy and cookies—all topped off with a New Year’s Eve bash. What’s a health-conscious person to do?

Here are some helpful, and healthful, tips:

Maintain, Not Gain

Admit that this time of year is not the easiest time to try to lose weight. Make your goal attainable—just try to maintain your weight. You’ll be able to treat yourself and still have a sense of accomplishment when January rolls around and you haven’t gained a pound.

Cut Calories in Recipes

If you’re hosting guests, do them a favor and cut the calories in the food you serve. Go easy on things like nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream. Offer light appetizers, such as shrimp cocktail. Use substitutes like chicken stock in recipes.

Eat A Pre-Dinner Party Snack

Eat a healthy snack at home first. A handful of nuts, string cheese, or a few whole-grain crackers can be the difference between going to a party hungry, eating anything in sight, and taking a more moderate approach to a buffet.

Watch What You Drink

Alcohol and eggnog can add unwanted calories. Try diet sodas, sparkling water, or low-calorie punch. If you do drink, select wine or beer, not heavy cocktails.

Plan Ahead

Knowing you’ll probably eat and drink more than normal, cut calories from your everyday meals in preparation for upcoming events. And when you’re out, scan all the dishes before you start eating so you can made wise choices.

Be Mindful of What You Eat

You don’t have to write down every morsel, but keep a mental checklist of what you’re consuming and set limits.

Step Away

Don’t hang out near the food. Approach the buffet with a purpose and once you have made your selections, move away. If you stay near the table, you’ll just eat because you’re there, not because you’re hungry. Make only one trip to the buffet—avoid getting seconds.


Don’t skip your fitness routine. With everything you have to do to get ready for the holidays, it’s tempting to bypass the gym or your regular walk for lack of time. That’s a bad holiday habit that could easily extend into the New Year.

The holidays are a wonderful time to be with family and friends—and you can enjoy these days in a healthy way. By taking a moderate approach, you can treat yourself to the goodies you may only see once a year and avoid a food hangover in the new year.

author name

Richard L. Grunden, MD

Richard L. Grunden, MD, is a family medicine physician with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health LG Health Physicians Family Medicine Susquehanna. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and the Lancaster General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Grunden’s areas of special interest include integrative medicine, patient education, and urgent care.

Schedule an Appointment Call: 717-426-1131

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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