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The holidays are upon us, which can mean one of two things: it’s the most magical time of year when giving is at the forefront of our hearts and minds, or you may be utterly stressed out with all of the overindulgence that comes with the holiday season!  From cookie exchanges, the kid’s class parties to lots of fun seasonal events, holiday gatherings are notorious for calorie dense foods and cocktails.  It can be very stressful to stay on track this time of year with regards to your training and nutrition, especially with so many celebrations springing up left and right. The mindless grazing at parties can and will add up if you’re not attentive to it, but with a little planning, your goals need not be derailed in the process of celebrating the season.  And like anything else, when we put too much focus on something, it can completely consume us, but by simply being more aware, it need not be a point of contention and we can still celebrate like a BOSS!

Keeping the focus on your goals is key in skating seamlessly through the winter season, so let’s discuss a few tips you can implement to avoid unnecessary temptation or at the very least, minimize the impact on your waistline.  The best part of having a game plan is that even if you haven’t been the best behaved, implementing healthier habits now will put you way ahead of the January 1st crowd.  By then, you’ll have forged new habits that will keep you on track and in alignment with the best version of you in 2018!

Bring a healthy dish!

Not sure there will be healthy options where you are headed?  Try to get in a small healthy meal prior to arriving to help satisfy your hungry, so you won’t pick as much and you won’t get too tipsy if you already have something on board. Another good rule of thumb is to prepare a healthy dish to share.  At least you know there will be one thing that isn’t off limits to you and you may turn others on to a new healthier recipe they haven’t tried.  Now that’s giving back!

Just say NO!

If your lifestyle and eating habits differ from that of the host or other guests, you are under no obligation to eat anything that doesn’t fit the bill.  Many fear offending others if they don’t try something, but if you have a friend that doesn’t support your goals, that’s no friend at all!  If someone doesn’t respect your choices and healthier lifestyle, that is their issue and not yours.


And I don’t mean sports drinks, sugary teas or anything aside from good old fashioned water! When we are under hydrated, we can feel lethargic, hungry and just plain off.  Make sure you’re getting your water in all throughout the day, especially leading up to a night out.  And believe me, the hangover you won’t have as a result of staying hydrated is your bodies’ way of thanking you!

Lower Calorie Cocktails

The typical 10-12 oz. margarita will set you back roughly 600 calories or more, making it an ideal choice for a sugar spike and a boatload of empty calories, not to mention the hangover that may follow a night of sweet, sugary drinks. By simply replacing the mix with either soda water or fresh squeezed lime juice, you can omit all of the extra sugar and calories and still enjoy an adult beverage.  Be sure to alternate each alcoholic beverage with water to keep from getting too dehydrated…or worse yet, drunk!  My go-to adult beverage is typically a VSL (vodka, soda, lime) and it contains far fewer calories than using sugary sodas or juices as mixers. And let’s face it, the more you partake in the alcoholic beverages, the less you pay attention to what you are nibbling on and are far more apt to mindless eating will indefinitely add up.  Not a drinker?  Sip on sparkling water with lime or lemon to still feel festive!

Healthier substitutions

Cut the fat and calories by bringing some healthier versions of your favorite holiday treats.  Who doesn’t love a great cocktail meatball?  Try preparing your own healthier version by using ground chicken, turkey bison or lean ground beef and omit the extra fillers and breading.  Chips and dip sounds great too! Consider dropping the high fat chips for some homemade baked veggie chips, sliced raw veggies or my baked zucchini chips (recipe below) and substituting Greek yogurt for mayo and sour cream in dips. It will still taste great, but it will also go so much farther.

No guilt!

Bottom line…if you do slip up or have one too many pigs in a blanket, that’s ok too!  If you happen to let loose a bit more than you’d like, don’t beat yourself up over it.  Acknowledge it and move on! Start the next day with a clean slate, get that workout in and get back on your clean meals again.  Get the water in and make your goals a priority again.  Harping over an occasional slip up won’t change it, so move forward with a positive attitude and know you are doing things to support your goals again.

Baked zucchini chips


  • 4-6 Zucchini
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • parmesan cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

After washing your zucchini, slice into 1/4-inch-thick chips, absorb extra moisture with paper towels and toss in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic and parmesan (optional).  Toss to coat thoroughly.

Place on a lined cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on both side.  Be sure to flip halfway through.  Serve with dip as a healthier alternative to chips!

Half-Assed Guacamole!

With pre-made pico de gallo available in most stores, this easy recipe just became even easier!

  • 2 large ripe avocados mashed
  • 1 cup pico de gallo (more or less if you prefer)
  • salt to taste

Enjoy immediately or chill for an hour in the refrigerator.  Serve with baked zucchini chips, baked sweet potato chips or sliced raw veggies