The holiday season is upon us. That means that the food is aplenty and the drinks are flowing. You many be wondering, “how on earth do I stick to a healthy routine amidst the merriment?” The good news is, you don’t have to forgo the fun. You can maintain healthy habits without it being overly straining, inconvenient or restrictive. Mastering these simple hacks will help keep you on track and feeling fabulous right through to the New Year.

The Buffet Dinner

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a potluck or a buffet meal (or two). The typical buffet strategy is to pile your plate with as much food as-humanly-possible, resulting in more calories consumed than what you had intended. After all, you don’t want to miss tasting anything, right? With a little planning, you can prevent this free-for-all and your waistline will thank you.

  • Before a single food item touches you’re plate, scan the whole buffet to know exactly what is offered. 
  • Prioritize your plate selection by choosing at least one protein, one veggie and one carbohydrate source. 
  • Concentrate on food you really love. Don’t waste your tummy space on semi-interesting or “fluff” foods like bread rolls (unless, of course, they are your jam).
  • Do not eat with other food in sight or within arms reach to prevent the urge to reach for more.
  • On that note. Avoid going for a second helping unless you have finished a glass of water, waited 20 minutes and you still feel hungry. Chances are, you won’t be be.

The Open Bar

There is nothing like a good glass of mulled wine or a creamy eggnog at this time of year. It’s really the over-drinking of these sugar-laden, calorie dense, alcohol-infused indulgences that will wreak havoc on your health. Navigating an open bar at a party is like being a good marathoner- it’s all in the pacing. Get to the finish-line (the end of the night) without overdoing it, by conspicuously moderating your pace.

  • Have two quality conversations between each drink.
  • Never re-fill your glass until it’s completely finished.
  • Consider having a glass of water between each drink. Make it sparkling and no-one will notice it’s non-alcoholic. The bonus effect is that it can bail you out of a dull conversation when you politely excuse yourself to use the loo.

The Holiday Hosting

Are the festivities at your place this year? Hosting holiday gatherings gives you extra wiggle-room for staying on the health track. After all, you’re in the drivers seat.

  • If you love to bake this time of year, give away the sugary treats as hostess gifts to others. If it’s not in the house, it won’t be eaten.
  • In the same vein, when there’s lots of food at your party, make sure that you have plenty of tupperware to give the excess away to departing guests.
  • With leftovers, portion out single meal servings for later 
  • Get moving your sexy bod by including fun winter activities into your holiday events (or between them). Schedule a walk of the neighbourhood’s Christmas lights, plan an out-door skate with the kiddos or have a snowman building contest with the whole family.
  • Take advantage of free childcare (in the form of visiting grandparents) to sneak away to the gym for a workout.


Dr. Jacqui Klassen BSc, ND is a registered naturopathic doctor at Healthflow Family Wellness Centre in Calgary, Alberta. Jacqui’s medically trained, naturally focused approach to digestive health and whole-body wellness, has helped her patients change their lives.