By Katie Seaton RD, LD

During this unusual holiday season, I want you to lean into joy and gratitude by celebrating culture, community, and connection. Because food is typically the center of holiday festivities, I encourage you to improve your relationship with food before the holidays to free up valuable time and energy for what aligns with your values. 


Connect with your family, friends, and most importantly yourself. This means honoring your hunger and taste buds.

Start by making sure you are well fed. Often people skip meals before a holiday lunch or dinner to “save calories.” Unfortunately, this leads to overeating at the holiday meal. Instead, try cooking a nourishing meal 2-3 hours before attending a seasonal buffet.

This will allow you to be more in tune with your body instead of facing ravenous hunger and stomach pains that may lead you to binge. Thankfully, holiday leftovers are just as tasty, if not more delicious!

When building your holiday plate try to add:

  • Color for fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and crunch: salad, green beans, cranberries
  • Protein to increase satiety: turkey, ham, duck, tofu, beans 
  • Carbohydrates for energy: stuffing, rice, mashed potatoes, rolls
  • Fat for flavor and satisfaction: dark turkey meat, butter, pie

All holiday dishes belong on your plate, including pie. If you love dessert try to save room in your stomach or save pie to enjoy later. 

Food tastes better when you are hungry. Once you are overly stuffed the pie may not be as appetizing, in that case, enjoy it for breakfast the next day.

By tuning in with yourself, you will be more able to connect with those around you rather than stressing about calories and overeating. 

**Spoiler alert: The turkey does not make you feel tired and sluggish, overeating does. 


Taste your family’s traditions during the holidays, even if it is a single bite! Celebrate your heritage and all of your holiday favorite dishes. Try to avoid dieting during or around the holidays as deprivation often leads to overindulgence. 

Instead, slow down and enjoy a portion of each dish. Take the time to learn how your Aunties, Uncles, and Kupuna prepare your favorite holiday foods and why or who taught them to cook and bake. Attempt to get your family’s secret recipes. Slow down, talk story, taste the food, and smell the food. Enjoy the desserts and the vegetables.

You deserve to enjoy the holidays and to celebrate your family’s traditions.  


The holidays are more than a celebration of food, they are a time for gratitude and giving. If you are unable to get together with a small group of five to enjoy a holiday meal, create a meal train with friends, neighbors, or family. Safely prepare your favorite holiday dish and coordinate a contactless drop off with peers. If multiple families and friends can participate you will end up with a variety of holiday favorites with less time in the kitchen. You can enjoy the holidays with more guests through a virtual zoom/FaceTime holiday meal.

You can also look to give back to your community through these volunteer events:

May you have a nourishing and healthy holiday season. If you happen to take a picture of your plate, tag us at #WYAOholidayplate, we would love to see your holiday favorites.

WYAO Hawaii is here to support you and your team during these challenging times and beyond. Call or email for an education session that can support, educate, and help your team to continue to step into their best selves!

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