Diane May Nutrition Blog

How to Handle the Holiday Season

November 25th, 2014

Thanksgiving is the kick off of a season filled with food and folly.  Many people find this the most stressful time of year and there are some simple things you can do to avoid holiday weight gain.

  • Plan ahead-If you are prepared before you go to those holiday parties and family get togethers you will feel more in control.  If you do not think there will be anything healthy to eat, volunteer to bring something, like a healthy salad or beautiful roasted vegetables.  Know what you will do if faced with things like: fried passed munchies, (look for crudite or other vegetables) or if everyone is drinking and you don’t want to appear conspicuous (order a club soda on ice with a slice of lime).
  • Do not save up calories for parties-We are not squirrels saving up nuts for winter.  Eat your usual breakfast and lunch and eat a light, healthy snack before the event.  You will stay in control and do less caloric damage. Never go to a party or event starving, you will eat way too many calories as you will be feeling out of control.
  • Keep moving-Continue your healthy exercise routine through the holidays.  It can be hard to find the time, but it will be worth it and you will feel better in the long run. It will help to keep your energy and mood level high.
  • Try and keep your beverages calorie free-Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.  If you love egg nog, try and find low fat versions. Remember women should have no more than one serving of alcohol per sitting and men should have no more than two per sitting. If you are going to drink over the holidays, try and reduce your carbohydrate intake.
  • Let go of guilt-Pick one thing you look forward to and have it guilt free in moderation.  Make sure it is worth it to you and is special to that holiday.  Don’t eat things just because they are there or because you don’t want to hurt someones feelings. Your well being is the most important thing.

Although the holiday season can be fraught with poor food choices, there are ways to enjoy the holidays guilt free and maintain a healthy weight.  Be mindful, plan ahead and make sure the indulgences you choose are really worth it!   Enjoy the holidays!

Roasted Turnips & Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Glaze

From EatingWell: November/December 2012

How to Handle the Holiday Season

In this delicious side dish recipe, turnips and butternut squash are glazed with a mixture of molasses and flavorful five-spice powder. Try the dish with garlic-rubbed roasted chicken or pork.

Makes: 6 servings, about 3/4 cup each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes



• 4 medium turnips (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled

• 1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• 1 small red onion, halved and sliced

• 2 tablespoons molasses

• 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (see Tip)




1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°F.

2. Slice turnips and squash crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice into 3/4-inch-wide strips or “sticks.” Toss with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well coated. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. (Set the bowl aside.)

3. Roast the turnips and squash for 10 minutes. Carefully transfer back to the bowl. Gently stir in onion, molasses and five-spice powder to combine. Return the vegetables to the baking sheets; roast, stirring once halfway through and rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.


• Tip: Chinese five-spice powder is available in well-stocked supermarkets and Asian markets. All blends contain cinnamon, fennel seed, cloves and star anise; some versions are made with white pepper, some with Szechuan pepper.


Per serving: 153 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 5 g fiber; 264 mg sodium; 757 mg potassium.