Making Healthier Food Choices This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a happy time filled with meals and parties with family and friends. Unfortunately, this also comes with a lot of extra calories, sugar, and fat. We are notorious for consuming unhealthy foods this time of year, from sweets and treats to heavy, nutritionally void foods. Additionally, caloric intake can easily exceed those being burned this time of year, and it can quickly lead to weight gain. Additional pounds can make it harder to keep those New Year resolutions and cause a lot of pain in the joints and spine. Your Charlotte chiropractor, Dr. Grant Lisetor, can help with the discomfort, but the best thing to do is avoid bringing about additional health issues entirely by maintaining a healthy weight, even through the holidays.

Smart Swaps

Swapping out some ingredients can not only make your meal more nourishing, but you’ll also be less likely to gain excess weight. Even better, most healthy options are also more flavorful.

  • Instead of casseroles, which often have cream sauces and cheeses, consider roasting vegetables whole. For example, skip the sweet potato casserole that is loaded with sugar and butter, and instead, roast diced sweet potatoes tossed in pumpkin spice. Lightly sauté fresh green beans in a small amount of butter with slivered almonds instead of eating green bean casserole.
  • Make simple switches, even if only half of a dish. Replace half the potatoes in your mashed potatoes with diced mashed cauliflower.
  • Use olive oil or a small amount of butter instead of margarine, which can be heavy in trans fats. A little bit of healthy fat in a dish also leads to a slower rise in blood sugar, which is good for maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels. Avoid large amounts of fat in any dish.
  • Instead of cranberry sauce and candies, use fresh fruit and dips with a yogurt base or dark chocolates, which are rich in antioxidants.
  • For snacks, offer vegetable trays or charcuterie boards. Avoid putting out chips and other high-calorie and fat-dense foods.
  • Swap white rice for brown or for riced cauliflower.
  • Replace half (or all) the sugar in all recipes with a healthier sweetener, such as raw honey.

Easy Adaptations

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming to alter your food choices this season. Simply make a few minor changes to your normal routines to improve your health and make better food-related decisions.

  • Fill up on nourishing foods before you go to a party or family meal.
  • Take healthy food if you know none will be present.
  • Hit the vegetables first.
  • Take a walk before you leave for parties.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during the party or meal.
  • Avoid the gravy boat, adding butter or salt, and eating anything fried.
  • If you really want to have some of the desserts or snacks at a party, consider having just a single bite of it. You get all the flavor and enjoyment without the overly full belly and subsequent discomfort.
  • Consider mindful eating, which involves taking the time to enjoy each and every bite and thinking of food as nourishing your body rather than as the enemy. Food is a tool we use to fuel our bodies and provide them with the building blocks they need to keep us well. Some foods provide more of that nourishment than others, and making an active choice to support our bodies ultimately leads to a body that works more efficiently.

New Traditions

Consider creating new and healthier traditions as a family or with friends.

  • Go for a walk on Christmas Eve to see the lights and get some activity.
  • Play games that involve physical activity, like interactive dancing video games, sports in the yard or basement, and so on.
  • Instead of large meals, consider doing an all-day drop-in with smart snacks on the tables.

If you find you have overindulged during the holidays to the detriment of your stomach or spine, know you can seek care from Dr. Grant Lisetor at Greater Life Chiropractic to help set things right again.

Reach out to us at Greater Life Chiropractic today to make an appointment and get started back on your journey to health.


Harvard Medical School. (2019). Why weight matters when it comes to joint pain.

Harvard Medical School. (2020). Butter vs. Margarine.