holiday table filled with party food with text overlay: Tips to Avoid Overeating at Holiday Parties

[Wellness Wednesday] Tips to Avoid Overeating at Holiday Parties

This post is another “re-run” from last year, but I thought it would be a good reminder since we’re starting to get into the “eating season.”  It’s so easy to over-indulge when there are so many goodies all around us.  Having some tools to help us deal with all the temptation may allow us to enjoy all those special treats without overeating, and without feeling guilty.

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! Since this is the time of year where we celebrate several holidays and go to lots of gatherings, many of which include the opportunity to gorge ourselves on delicious food, I thought I’d share a few tips to help avoid that trap.

It’s been found that the average person gains about a pound during the time frame from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. To avoid this, we often put ourselves into a me-versus-food situation. We determine that we’re not going to indulge in all those goodies and put ourselves on some kind of strict plan.

When we can’t stick to the plan, we start to feel we’ve failed and then think, “well, I’ve already messed up; I might as well just eat whatever I want and not worry about it.” That often ends up in that holiday weight gain we just talked about.

I would suggest an alternative: Let’s determine that we’re going to go with a more moderate approach, eat the things we really want to eat, and have a plan in place to avoid overindulging when we go to the many gatherings we attend this year.

Tips To Avoid Overeating At Parties:

Unless you’re going to a sit-down dinner, don’t go to the party hungry. Eating a light snack before you leave for the party can pay huge dividends when you get there. If you’re not feeling hungry, you won’t be as likely to overeat.

Drink plenty of water, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. This helps in a couple of different ways. First of all, water can help you feel full and keep you from wanting as much to eat. The second way it helps is that because drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions and cause you to eat more, having a glass of water for every drink you have can help dilute this effect.

Do a ‘walk-around’ before putting food on your plate. How many times have you gone through the buffet line and started putting things on your plate, and by the time you got to the really good stuff, you didn’t have anymore room on there? And you know how it goes – once the food is on your plate, you don’t want to appear rude, so you have to eat it, even if you don’t really want it.

Don’t deprive yourself. I’m not saying you should just go crazy and fill up on everything you possibly can, but when we go in feeling we “can’t” eat certain things we eat much more of the things we feel we can eat trying to make up for what we can’t. Rather than depriving yourself, eat what you really want, just eat a smaller portion of it. Having one or two really good bites is much more satisfying than having a whole plate of food you don’t really care about eating.

Don’t sit or stand near the table. When you’re in close proximity to the table, it’s just too tempting to keep picking at all those delicious goodies. It’s almost as if they just call out to you. Once you fill your plate, find a place away from the table to sit or stand and visit.

Be mindful of the real reason you’re there to begin with. If you’re at a party, chances are you didn’t really go there for the food; you went there to enjoy some time with colleagues, friends or family members. Use this time to connect/reconnect with people and have some fun. If you’re having good conversations with others you won’t even be thinking about the food.

It’s easy to overeat during the holidays when we’re going to so many different gatherings, but we don’t have to get caught in that trap. Having a game plan ahead of time can help us avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the party.

What are your top tips for avoiding overeating at holiday parties? Please share!




  1. These are great suggestions.

    My tip is for those who can’t have “just a little.” Not everyone can moderate. I’m one of these people. I start eating desserts and I keep going. So I have alternative plans. I find it works better if I have something to sip (like herbal tea) or nibble (fruit) while everyone else is eating dessert. It’s easier to feel like I’m participating and makes it easier not to pick up the foods I am trying to avoid.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your suggestions Kit! It’s great that you have an alternative plan for those times you know you can’t moderate your intake. Being prepared ahead of time is smart. Blessings to you sweet friend!

  2. These are all really great suggestions to keep in mind! Don’t go to the party hungry is much like not going to the grocery store while starving! It really does make such a big difference. Everything looks delicious but the after effect of eating too much and feeling overly full is unbelievably miserable!

    I am one of those believers in moderating all things – including good things. It’s awesome to enjoy ourselves because we should. Nothing should be on our minds except loving others and being loved in return – even if it’s only our beloved cat or dog! When we let our inner critic be silenced and simply live in the moment, enjoying ourselves and the delicious food before us – we are much less likely to overeat or lose the purpose of Thanksgiving.

    I pray your Thanksgiving is special, blessed, full of joy and filled with memories for a lifetime to come! ❤ God bless you & yours!

    1. Thank you so much Holly! I agree 100% that we should be able to enjoy ourselves and not have to worry about whether we “should” be able to eat something or not. I love what you said about silencing our inner critic and living in the moment. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving sweet friend!

  3. I needn’t worry about this as I have no parties or gatherings of any kind to attend. BUT I can still end up overdoing it at Christmas at home, when I put all the goodies out on the dining table after Christmas lunch… When in public, I find I’m far less likely to overindulge than when I’m home with family or privately in my room. I do that actually eating what you ‘want’ in moderation (rather than thinking there’s something you ‘should’ eat because it’s healthier/lower fat etc) is a good idea; problems often start to happen when we deprive ourselves. Fantastic tips, Terri!
    Wishing you a loving Thanksgiving for tomorrow, too  ♥
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Caz! You bring up a good point about the opportunities we have to overeat at home as well. I always know I’m going to eat a little more this time of year because I’m exposed to things I don’t normally have around, so I just plan for it. You’re absolutely right – “problems often start to happen when we deprive ourselves.” In the end, as always, it’s all about finding what works for us, as we’re all different. I hope you’re doing well sweet friend. Sending lots of love and hugs your way!

  4. There’s some good tips Terri, but the holiday seasonal parties are just so hard to avoid for me. It’s probably the only time of the year where my weight increases and my healthy eating routines become null and void. Guess that’s probably the same for most people around this time huh.

    1. Thanks Mark! I think the holidays are just the time of year where we may eat a little more. I know I do because I’m exposed to a lot of ‘treats’ that I don’t normally have around. I don’t deprive myself – I eat all the goodies (in moderation) and I don’t feel bad about it. I personally think if we’re eating healthily most of the time, we can afford a splurge or two from time to time. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Blessings to you!

  5. Good tips but hard to avoid all that good food, at least I do drink water and only water!! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 7. Shared.

    1. Thanks so much Dee, and thanks for hosting the linkup! I’ve learned that I don’t have to avoid all the good food; I just don’t eat too much of it. For me, the key is to eat what I really like and not feel guilty about it, then leave the rest alone. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

      1. That’s what I do Terri 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

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