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37 Super Tips for Healthy Eating this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us once again – a time of great family fun and…well, you know, a bit of feasting.

We spoke to a few nutritionists and dietitians to get some tips on healthy eating this holiday season

Healthy Eating Tips from Carina Sohaili, Board Certified Celebrity Nutrition and Health Counselor and Founder of Vibrant Healthy Life

What are some tips for staying lean this holiday season, especially considering the hectic time schedule and travel?

1. Erase the “all or nothing” diet mentality. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they let themselves go. Indulge in a balanced way and be mindful of your portions. It is very easy to continuously overeat when you are around a large group of people who are overindulging and not aware of it.

2. Never leave the house starving without a healthy snack. The holiday season is hectic. Be a planner and keep a go-to snack with you at all times. Everyone has a different snack that works for them. I personally love a small apple and a couple of almonds; it works for my body and is a great healthy carbohydrate-protein-fat combination. Find a healthy snack that works for you and keep an extra in your car and purse.

3. Never fast in preparation for a huge meal. When you starve yourself during the day in preparation for a huge meal your body has a much harder time acknowledging when you are actually full. You also will get much more intense cravings for sugary and carbohydrate heavy sweets.

4. Make time for physical activity. Twenty minutes is all you need. Even if it is a fast walk around the block before dinner or a game of dancing charades: get creative and get your sweat on. Everything counts and something is better than nothing. Be smart about time and schedule in those twenty minutes daily. It will start becoming as easy as brushing your teeth.

What are some of the things to avoid or to look out for during the meal?

5. Never go to a meal starving.

6. Start with fiber rich greens and lean protein. Filling up on protein and fiber will keep you more full, satisfied and stabilize your blood sugar levels for a longer amount of time. This will help curb cravings for unhealthy foods, improve your energy levels and prevent you from overeating the bad stuff.

7. Simple, real and all natural is best. Eat real food. Steer clear of creamy thick sauces, excessive ingredients and fancy unnecessary toppings. Do not be shy to ask how the food is prepared. Get comfortable with making your health a priority.

Have a plan and keep yourself in check. Focus on why you are at the meal in the first place – to be around the people you love. It is never just all about the food. The holiday season is a time for friends and family. Not stuffing your face with food and feeling guilty afterwards.

8. You can live your life, be healthy and enjoy yourself this holiday season. Be a planner, practice new healthy habits, pay attention to how hungry you really are, and be aware of your environment so you do not eat excessively. For more quick tips you can connect with me via social media on Facebook and Twitter! Happy Holidays!


Carina Sohaili, Certified Celebrity Nutrition and Health Counselor, Foun...

About Carina Sohaili: Carina Sohaili is the founder of Vibrant Healthy Life and a Board Certified Celebrity Nutrition and Health Counselor. She graduated Cum Laude from George Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology where she developed a strong foundation in understanding human behavior. Working with Hollywood’s film executives, producers, actors and actresses, Carina also serves as a featured health expert, on-camera health, nutrition consultant, and is a regular “Mindful Munch” columnist on Guiliana Rancic’s Fab Fit Fun. She believes “everyone is a fingerprint, everyone is different; one person’s fuel is another person’s poison.” With her ability to combine her psychology and nutrition expertise, Carina helps create a personalized roadmap to health that suits each individual’s unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals.

3 Tips to Staying Lean this Holiday Season by Desiree Garrido, Vitality Expert, Coaching & Seminars

We’ve all been there, trying to eat healthfully and the the holiday season
comes and we get side swiped by all the tempting, rich and most of time
nutrient deficient foods that are at every holiday party spread.

9. Values

Write your values to anchor your actions.

Values simply mean the things that you hold super important for your life.
For example it can be health, fitness, family, love, compassion, etc.
Think of this as an “honoring thyself” system. Instead of framing the
holidays like, “I’m going to gain weight” think instead of, “I’m going to
live from my values and honor myself.”

10. Schedule it!

Once you get your values in place (and I hope that health/fitness/exercise
is one of them) schedule it in your calendar to do one thing a week that
honors one of those values. For example, for the value of Fitness,
schedule several fun physical activities with your partner, friends and
family. Get moving, this helps burn more calories, since likely you’ll be
consuming more calories during this holiday time. Think burn calories any
which way you can.

11. Your Highest Self

Think about it, is all that food (likely fried, heavy, rich, fattening,
unhealthy) and likely alcohol – going to serve your highest self? The one
that you know deep in your heart deserves to be thriving and not just
surviving. The answer is no. A bite, a taste, sure…but at the end of
the day (and holiday season) you will want to come out of it the winner of
the yearly battle. Remember, it’s all about choices. And when your choices
align with your values, highest most vitality-filled, activated self — you
will be more energized and fulfilled than any other holiday season, I

desireeDesiree Garrido, is a Vitality Expert, Coach and Seminar leader based in the SF Bay Area and certainly can help you with tips for staying lean this holiday season. Last November, she lead a Vitality workshop at a fitness club in the Francisco Bay Area on this exact topic and it was very successful and impactful for their members. She is  not a registered dietitian nor nutritionist, but she has been a personal trainer, fitness professional, collegiate athlete and was born with a skin condition called Psoriasis that she has been 99% clear of without any medications but by simply studying and changing her nutrition and lifestyle. Today, she coaches private clients and hold seminars on achieving a life activated and thriving and much of that journey starts with understanding your relationship to food, your body and your values.


Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays – Cari Coulter, registered and licensed dietitian

Unfortunately, holiday parties present individuals attempting to follow a
heart-healthy or diabetes diet with a number of challenges. Here are a few
general tips to help people make the best of the situation:

12) Plan Ahead. The internet is awash with healthy holiday tips and
places millions of recipes for all types of dietary restrictions at your
fingertips. Many of these recipes do an excellent job of replicating
traditional holiday favorites. Taking some time to identify and test out
recipes that have been modified to meet your dietary requirements will allow
you to enjoy your holiday meal without feeling restricted.

13) One heart healthy and diabetic friendly strategy for keeping your
meal under control is to utilize the plate method where you fill half your
plate with nonstarchy vegetables (i.e. salad with nonfat dressing, grilled
green and orange veggies) and split the second half of your plate evenly
between lean protein (i.e. baked ham, chicken, or turkey without skin) and
starch (i.e. potatoes, rice, bread). You can do the same with your
appetizer plate by filling half of it with items from the fruit or veggie
tray and placing something like cheese and crackers on the second half). If
you find yourself still hungry after this food, try to only take seconds of
nonstarchy vegetables and possibly a little more lean protein. This is also
a useful tip for an individual trying to control portion size to minimize
calorie intake.

14) Think fat free/low fat substitutions. Replacing foods and
ingredient items with their lower and fat free counterpart is another great
way to lower the fat and calorie content of your meal without feeling
deprived as you don’t necessarily need to give something up. For example,
use fat free instead of regular sour cream on your baked potato or in your
veggie dip, substitute pureed vegetables or fat free evaporated milk to
thicken a soup, or use pureed pumpkin or applesauce in your baked goods
instead of butter. Again, this allows you to still consume your traditional
holiday favorites while still following your dietary restrictions.

15) The more fruits and vegetable options you introduce to the meal, the
more likely they are to take up room on your plate and in your stomach,
leaving less room for the less healthy options. So, bringing a fruit or
veggie tray as an appetizer for a potluck or a salad or broth based
vegetable soup as a side dish are good ideas. I would also suggest you
bring a healthy alternative of a favorite dish if you know you’ll be tempted
by a less healthy version, i.e. if you know you’re going to want dessert,
offer to bring a fat free brownie and some fat free frozen yogurt so that
you know there will definitely be at least one healthy dessert option

16) What I definitely do not recommend is skipping meals beforehand to “save”
calories for your big meal. You may end up so famished that you have
absolutely no self control while at the holiday party and consume thousands
of extra calories, even though you only skipped the 400 that a healthy lunch
would have contained.

Cari Coulter-WellspringCari is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a certificate in Childhood and Adolescent weight management. She is the director of Wellspring Wisconsin.




What are some tips for staying lean this holiday season, especially considering the hectic time schedule and travel?

Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere! Well, I love pumpkin just as much as the next Starbucks drive-through-er, but lets face it, those pumpkin spice lattes (or PSL’s as the cool kids call it) do not help with keeping the pounds off! So, what can we do to stay lean during this hectic holiday season? Here are a few of my favorite tips:

17. Don’t forget your exercise routine! Let’s face it…it’s easy to skip the morning jog or gym trip with family and friends in town; however, one simple way of staying trim like the Christmas tree is to stay in your exercise routine.

18. Fill up on salad, not bread. As a rule of thumb, salad is more filling than bread. You will consume an extraordinary amount of calories if you reach for the bread first. Go ahead and pass the bread basket to the person next to you.

19. Watch those chocolate martinis. Alcoholic beverages are typically packed full of sugar and calories. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a few drinks, because I know you will anyway- BUT choose wisely. Go for the simple cocktails like vodka tonic or rum and diet coke. Avoid those sugary “holiday-ish” beverages.

20. Pack goodie-bags for traveling. I tell all of my frequent traveler patients this: pack snack size Ziploc bags with almonds, healthy trail mix, or cereal. Keep them with you while traveling, so there is less temptation to go for that $10 bag of M&M’s at the airport gift shop. A little planning ahead can save you a lot of calories and money!

What are some of the things to avoid or to look out for during the meal?

There are a few things to watch out for in general, and some things to avoid completely.
21. No eggnog. Did you know that ONE serving of eggnog has approximately 250 calories? (And we all know that we don’t just have one serving!)

22. No gravy. Mainly because it is made out of…fat.

23. Nothing with “cream” or “candied” in the name. Creamed spinach, cream of mushroom or chicken soup (in every casserole, practically), candied yams.

24. Cheesecake. Yes. Out of all desserts, this one typically takes the “cake” in terms of calories. One piece of cheesecake can have up to 700 calories! Alternative? Chocolate dipped strawberries or a cookie or two.

25. Those tempting Starbucks drinks. Here’s a simple example. A grande white chocolate peppermint mocha has 540 calories. No, no and no.

7f36e3910bbe4565ac2e06304205116dDr. Tiffany Sizemore-Ruiz (Dr. “T”) is a board certified internist, special interests in cardiovascular health and preventative medicine. Dr. T takes a “tough love” approach to patient care, and communicates with her patients on a personal level. A Magna Cum Laude graduate from Florida Atlantic University at the age of 19, with a B.S. in Psychobiology, Dr. T advanced to become the youngest graduate from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Dr. T is a Cardiology fellow at Palmetto General Hospital; the Chair of the American Heart Association’s “Circle of Red” committee focusing on women’s health issues; is on the Executive Leadership Board for the AHA’s Greater Fort Lauderdale/Miami chapter; and was the only Florida recipient of TopDoc 2013 honors awarded by Concierge Medicine Today. She operates her concierge medicine practice, Choice Physicians of South Florida, with her husband, Dr. Camilo Ruiz, a board certified internist and sleep specialist.

Erika Kaufman, RD, LD, offers tips by helping get through the holiday social scene, with these great tips:

26. Eat something at home before a party to help avoid a calorie overload. Do not starve yourself! When you’re starving, you tend to eat faster than usual, and since it takes your brain around 15 minutes to recognize fullness, overeating is a big problem. Also, it is harder to make healthy choices and resist even slight temptations when you’re ravenous. Eating a balanced diet throughout your day will help maintain appropriate levels of blood sugar, energy and satisfaction. These factors have a significant and positive effect on your will power and level of motivation.

27. Avoid alcohol. If you can avoid alcohol, do. Alcohol adds around 100 calories per serving (this would be a jigger of vodka or a small 4oz glass of wine). This might not sound like much, but, how many of us can limit ourselves once we start drinking to just 4oz of wine? Keep in mind this is just the alcohol; mixed drinks contain even more calories, so an 8oz margarita can have more than 400 calories! Alcohol also allows us to make decisions without really having to think about the consequences as much, so if you drink, you are likely to eat more as well.

28. Enjoy the holiday party food without eating too much. Focus on the social aspect instead of the food. Use this time to catch up with old friends/family. Do not stand right next to the food table, or put your back to it; you eventually will give in to those cupcakes after 60 minutes of staring at them. Carry a glass of water or a diet drink in one hand and your purse in the other, limiting your ability to grab more food mindlessly. Instead of bringing the host wine, bring a healthy food item that you enjoy eating; this way if there is nothing else healthy, you can have something to eat (more people will appreciate this than you realize).

29. You CAN enjoy desserts during the holidays without gaining weight! Be picky! Don’t just take spoonfuls/bites of desserts that are not that appealing to you. Make a conscious decision to have a small piece of your favorite dessert and indulge in that moment. Let yourself enjoy the experience; this will be more satisfying and will help you stay away from all the other desserts.

30. There are foods you can enjoy besides the veggie tray. Fruit is a good option. Look for simple dishes where you can see the ingredients so that you have more control over what you are eating. Look for lean protein options like small deli sandwiches or shrimp with cocktail sauce. Avoid premade salads like chicken salad and tuna salads (there usually is a lot of mayo and all sorts of calorically-dense ingredients included).

ErikaKaufman-BWsmallErika Kaufman, RD, LD, earned a BS in Nutritional Sciences and completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics from the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in weight management, diabetes care, gestational diabetes, pediatric nutrition, sports nutrition, cardiovascular nutrition and optimal pregnancy nutrition. The Houstonian Club is an award-winning facility with 175,000 square feet of space offering 250 fitness machines, 150 group exercises a week on land, and 45 on water, 37 personal trainers, nutritionists, a rock climbing wall, yoga, Pilates, a full-size basketball court, martial arts, boxing, three pools and much more. For more information on The Houstonian Club, visit<>





2 tips for you from a registered dietitian with 20+ years in food service operations – Dirk Noteboom

31. Watch out for the hidden fats in holiday foods*; people go all out and
want holiday meals to taste like mom used to make, so dishes will have lots
of eggs, heavy cream, cheese, butter….all the good stuff. Unfortunately
all the good stuff can easily triple and sometimes quadruple the fat and
calories in a dish (everything from stuffing, veges, sauces, desserts).

32. Watch the beverages you consume during the holidays*. As you go off
your normal diet and partake of eggnog, regular beverages, etc., you can
easily consume from several hundred to several thousand calories very
quickly and easily. For example, it is not unusual for a serving of eggnog
to have 450 calories and 20 grams of fat…all before you add any extra
“punch” to the mix.”

DirkNoteboom_large (1)Dirk Noteboom is VP of Culinary Nutrition Services <> (CNS) and is available to offer more tips and answer any other questions you may have.









Yuri Elkaim’s Holiday Tips!

33. Before your meal have a glass of lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added. Doing so helps to curb your appetite so you eat less, increases stomach acid secretion (which is essential for good digestion), and lowers the glycemic load of the coming meal so that you can have up and down blood sugar responses.

34. Take a digestive enzyme before and with your meal. Most people suffer through heavy holiday meals because their digestive systems are suffering from years of abuse. Taking a digestive enzyme along with your meal can rev up your digestion and make it easier to process all of those heavy foods.

35. Do a set of push-ups or bodyweight squats before you start eating. Yes, it sounds funny but the reason for this is that exercise opens up your muscles cells for maximum nutrient and calorie uptake upon eating. If you’re going to eat a lot of food you might as well ensure that it’s going to your muscles and not sitting around in your fat cells. A few simple exercises before you start eating can do the trick.

36. Bring Your own Treats to the party! Yes, there are a ton of options outside the traditional high-sugar, gluten-infested treats. For most baked goods almond flour is the ultimate healthy alternative to wheat because it’s gluten-free. Not only that but it’s natural moistness brings a whole new level of moist taste to your cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.

37. And instead of using sugar for sweetness (which sends your blood sugar soaring) try using Stevia instead. Stevia has no impact on your blood sugar and thus is much better for diabetics (and pretty much everyone).

For instance, here’s an amazing brownie recipe that will blow your mind (and your tastebuds). And you’ll be shocked to find out that it’s based on black beans!

• 1 can of black beans, well rinsed and drained
• 3 large eggs
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1?4 cup cocoa powder
• 4 pinches stevia
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1?4 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Rinse and drain the black beans well
3. Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender and
blend until very smooth
4. Stir in chocolate chips
5. Pour batter into an 8-inch square buttered baking pan
6. Bake at 350F for 30-32 minutes
7. Brownies are ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean

Or, try these “Coconut Truffles” instead of those oreo cookies…


• 2 cups dates, pitted
• 2 cups pecans, presoaked
• 1 tbsp cacao powder
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1?2 cup dried shredded coconut


1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until the mixture becomes smooth and forms a ball.
2. Roll mixture into small balls (should yield about 36) and roll in shredded coconut for coating.

For ice cream, try this dairy-free “Strawberry-Banana Gelato”:


• 2 ripe bananas, frozen
• 2 cups strawberries, frozen


1. Peel and chop ripe bananas and store in freezer until frozen. Freeze strawberries as well.
2. Place frozen fruit in a food processor and blend until creamy smooth.

YuriElkaim4906fwYuri is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Fitness Expert. Yuri began his love of fitness at age 4 (when he first starting playing soccer) & love for nutrition in his early twenties as a way of improving his own health. At age 17, he developed the autoimmune Disease Alopecia and lost all his hair. This peaked his interest in eating correctly. He has one of the top health podcasts on Itunes with over 5,000 downloads a day! .

Meet Food Expert and Nutritionist Yuri Elkaim, Author of “Eating for Energy,” and Fitness and Health Expert…

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