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Diabetes Still Isn't Easy
Diabetes Still Isn't Easy

FDI is dedicated to diabetes education, nutritional counseling, and wellness programming.

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The Dos and Dont's of The Holidays

The holidays are officially upon us. Between traveling, spending time with the in-laws, shopping, and cooking, stress levels can easily rise. Do you find that you overeat when you’re stressed out?  Do you tend to not exercise as much over the holidays?  If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you are not alone. 

To help avoid weight gain over the holidays, I’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts.  Instead of letting your blood sugar, stress level and weight creep up over the next few weeks try some of these helpful tips: 


  1. Stay active! Even though it’s a busy time of year, it’s important to plan exercise into each day. Try not to break your routine. If you usually go for a 10-20 minute walk in the morning, continue doing this. Instead of sitting on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner, grab your coat and go for a walk with your family and friends. Walking after eating can help to bring down your postprandial blood sugar; you’ll simultaneously burn a few calories too!  
  2. Follow the Plate Method. Check out what is being served before you fill up your plate. Remember you want ½ of your plate to be vegetables, ¼ of your plate to be carbohydrates, and ¼ of your plate to be protein. Most holiday meals are filled with carbohydrates, so pick a couple of your favorites and keep the portions small. Fun fact: A few years ago my sister and I were on a big roasted Brussels sprouts kick. We roasted a bunch beforehand and brought them to our friend’s house for dinner.  They were such a hit!  It’s now our signature holiday dish. 


  1. Drink your calories. Keep your non-alcoholic drinks calorie and carbohydrate free. Choose water, seltzer or diet soda instead of juice and regular soda. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation, which is one drink for women and two drinks for men. Beer, wine and alcohol all contain calories, so if you’re watching your weight it’s wise to be mindful of this. If you drink hard alcohol, be careful what you mix it with. Avoid the sugary mixers: chose diet tonic, diet soda, club soda, or seltzer instead of regular tonic, juice, and regular soda.
  2. Skip meals. If you skip breakfast and lunch, you’ll probably overeat at holiday meals. I suggest having a small snack before going to your friend’s or family’s house.  This will prevent you from over indulging on the heavy appetizers. 
  3. Overdo it on the desserts. Have smaller portions of the other carbohydrates (think mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing) at dinner to allow for a little bit of dessert. Keep in mind that the first bite or two is the best, so either have a small slice or split a piece with someone. And most importantly, keep the focus on friends and family instead of food. Isn’t that what it’s all about? 
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About the Author


Lynn is a nutritionist and diabetes educator at the Friedman Diabetes Institute.