Tips for a healthier holiday season


MINOCQUA – The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many it becomes a time for overeating and weight gain.

“The typical American can gain anywhere from 3 to 7 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. Over a lifetime, the holiday weight gain can really add up,” said Kelly Murphy, registered nurse, Marshfield Clinic Wausau Center, HMR weight management program.

“The holidays don’t have to mean weight gain,” stated Renee Trapp, nutrition educator, Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center, HMR weight management program. “Keep it simple and focus on a healthy balance of food, activity and fun. In the end, your mind and body will thank you for it. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the holiday season.”

  1. Don’t skip meals. Before heading out to a party or shopping, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over indulge.
  2. Survey buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Keep your plate balanced and make sure half your plate is fruits and vegetables.
  3. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
  4. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.
  5. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce cravings. Non-alcoholic beverages can be loaded with sugar and calories and will not fill you up.
  6. If you do overeat at one meal, go light on the next. Increase your servings of fruits and vegetables to keep you full and satisfied while keeping your calories low.
  7. Plan time to exercise. Exercise can help relieve holiday stress and prevent extra weight gain. Try doing multiple bouts throughout the day – or one longer bout – it all counts.
  8. Take the focus off of food. Turn candy and cookie making time into a non-edible project like making a wreath, dough art or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try playing games or taking a walking tour of decorated house lights.
  9. Practice healthy holiday cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating.

If you do end up with extra pounds after the holiday and want to shed the weight and gain health in the coming year, call Marshfield Clinic’s HMR Weight Management program at 715-358-1036 in Minocqua or 715-847-3882 in Wausau, or visit

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