Holiday weight gain is a common concern for many adults.  There is a lot of holiday messages that will encourage overeating and consumption of processed and sugary food.  Gaining 1-2 kg’s during the holidays don’t seem like a lot, but most people don’t lose this extra baggage.

There is this unwritten rule that celebrating occasions must always involve sugar.

I had an entire kids party without sugar and have Christmas without sugar. So yes, it can be done.  Have I had an entire holiday without sugar? I don’t think so as I’m convinced there’s sugar hiding in almost everything we eat at a restaurant.  But you can bake cupcakes without sugar. You can bake a chocolate cake without sugar.

The holidays are upon us and most of you are going to experience a panic attack when you think about you should eat. You won’t always have control over what’s available during holiday season, especially if you’re not in your usual environment.  But you can control the choices you make. Here’s a few practical guidelines to make your holiday season less stressful when it comes to your nutrition.

Get out and get some sunshine

Although it’s true that you cannot outrun a bad diet, it is good to get out there and embrace the sunshine and fresh air.

Don’t change your shopping habits just because you’re on holiday

Amazing how unhealthy snacks like cookies and other goodies are available for you to take as you please.  When treats are easy to access, you will snack unnecessarily. 

Don’t feel obliged that you must stock up on unhealthy treats just because visitors might want them. In my house, I tell visitors before hand…”we don’t have sugar, we don’t drink soda, bring your own if you need it”.  

And, if you want to snack with the crowd…do so. But opt for real food like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Be mindful of your portion sizes

We tend to overestimate portion sizes. Start with the meat and the vegetables. Stop there. Eat that first before you go back for a round of bread and pasta.  Chances are that you won’t even have a need for any bread or pastas or dessert.

Get enough sleep

This is a great time to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation may cause weight gain, since it can increase your hunger hormone levels, leading to more snacking.

Don’t drink your ‘calories’

During the holidays, alcohol, soda, and other sugary beverages are prevalent. These drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar to your diet daily. Try some sugar-free flavoured soda water or homemade iced tea for some healthier alternatives.


Most restaurants in South Africa can give you something without sugar or bread. Ask. What’s on their menu is not what’s available. It is what they are willing to cook to still be efficient in their daily operations.  I’ve never had any issue with any restaurant when I asked.  They might not have the best solution.  If you tell them what you don’t want, most of them will be able to come up with an alternative solution for you.  If they’re not willing to help, you’re not the right client for them.

Ice Cream

Again, ask. Pick a diabetic friendly ice-cream if there isn’t any sugar-free options.

Sauce on the side

Always ask for the sauce on the side. Ask if there’s any sugar in the sauce and whether they have a sugar-free option available.

What can I order?

If you’re at a restaurant for a quick lunch, order a gourmet sandwich without the bread.  If they look confused, just tell them…”put the lettuce at the bottom, and stack everything on top of it”.  In 99.9% of the instances, you’re going to get more food anyway.

Read the fine print

On a lot of restaurant menu’s, the sugar and wheat free options are listed in the footer of the menu.

From a mindset perspective, you must have the attitude of “it’s my body, I’m in charge”.   It’s much better to understand the fundamentals of eating as appose to figuring out what type of diet to follow.  There is a unique connection between how you think and how your thoughts impact your spirit, soul and body.  You are your own solution. 

Safe travels