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Registered dietitian Carolyn O’Neil knows that holiday eating means maximizing traditions and enjoying food with friends and family. While holiday time, with its large platters of food favorites, might not seem like the best time to consider healthy eating, Carolyn shows you some SLIM strategies such as setting a time frame for consumption and appropriate portion sizes. For example, "I'll enjoy fried chicken only once a month." Or the holiday version, “I’ll enjoy a big buffet tonight, but I’ll have a bowl of soup for lunch.” You can find these SLIM strategies and more deliciousness in Carolyn’s new book, The Slim Down South Cookbook.

SLIM Holiday Strategies

S – Savor

Fill your plate with the foods you should be eating more of such as greens, beans, peaches, okra and pecans. Citrus is in season during the winter months and provides great taste and good nutrition to help ward off colds and the flu.

L – Linger Longer

Take your sweet time when enjoying meals even if the world around you is swirling fast. This mindfulness will help you feel more satisfied with smaller portions while you’re slowly savoring the season’s treats such as chocolate desserts or rich eggnog.

I – Indulge a Little

Satisfy your cravings so they don’t return with a vengeance. Whether your favorite seasonal splurge is a praline candy, baked Brie or barrel-aged bourbon on the rocks, there’s room for a little indulgence. In fact, the USDA’s MyPlate healthy eating plan encourages us to ‘spend’ about 250 calories a day on splurge foods to be happy and healthy in the long run. 

M – Make it Happen

Use some grit and grace to stick to your guns when holiday temptations lure you at every turn. Keep fresh fruit and other healthy snacks such as whole-grain crackers, nuts and fresh veggies on hand. A handful of pecans before heading out to dinner can calm your appetite so you don't dive in the minute you arrive.

Carolyn O'Neil is a nutrition advisor to Best Food Facts, a registered dietitian and author of The Slim Down South Cookbook

What type of food do you most enjoy during the holidays?

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