Stay on Track: Tips to Prevent Overeating During the Holidays

The holiday meal time may contain delicious foods, but you must pace yourself. This article teaches you tips for preventing overeating and keeping your health in check.

The Long-Term Consequences of Overeating

Sonia Tolani, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said overeating can cause you to be overweight and result in type 2 diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also noted that being overweight increases your risk of diseases and conditions like osteoarthritis, depression, anxiety, and stroke.

Tips to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

To help you maintain your fitness goals this season, these are some tips you can follow:

Stick to a Routine

Amnon Beniaminovitz, MD, a cardiologist with Manhattan Cardiology in New York City, said having a strict diet and exercise regimen helps you avoid holiday gluttony. However, holiday meals happen between when you usually eat lunch and dinner.

You can counter this by eating a healthy breakfast when you wake up or bringing a healthy snack before your main holiday meal. This stops you from being famished when you finally sit down for the holiday dinner.

Avoid Foods With Saturated Fat

Dr. Tolani said high-fat foods and foods rich in dairy should be avoided. You can opt for heart-healthy foods such as lean proteins and high-fiber whole grains.

Holiday foods also tend to be rich in saturated fat. You can curb your intake by filling one-quarter of your plate with your favorite holiday meal and filling the rest with healthy foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables.

Take Your Time

Kelly Kennedy, RD, said it takes 20 minutes for your brain to know you’re full. She also said you could eat more than necessary if you keep filling up during this time. You can avoid this issue by slowing down to chew your food well or putting your fork down between bites.

Plan Ahead

Kennedy said you should have a plan to avoid overeating before arriving at the holiday gathering. This could involve drinking lots of water during the day, eating a healthy snack before you arrive, or planning to have a small portion of your favorite holiday meal.

Focus on the Company

Instead of getting swept up in all the food at a holiday event, focus on visiting with friends and family. Having conversations between bites ensures you eat less and enjoy your visit more.


Holiday programs can lead to overeating, which puts stress on your body. You can avoid this by sticking to a routine, avoiding foods with saturated fat, and having more conversations at the event.