Shed an Extra 3000 Calories This Holiday Season

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2896-933217_lots_of_food.jpgDid you know that the average person eats an extra 3000 calories on major holidays?

And, it takes 3500 calories extra to gain one pound?

So, if you are looking to watch your waistline this holiday season, follow my realistic tips to cut the calories despite the onslaught of cookies.


  • Burn about 300 calories by holiday shopping for two hours.
  • If you live in a snowy climate, build a snowman or have a snowball fight. These fun activity burns about 300 calories per hour.
  • Burn 400 calories per hour ice skating.
  • Sign up for a festive 5K walk or race.
  • Schedule a quick pre-holiday interval or circuit training workout. This type of exercise can burn, on average, 300 calories in 30 minutes!


  • Make lighter eggnog. Traditional eggnog can rack up 350 to 400 calories per cup! Slim it down by using skim milk or almond milk.
  • Create a skinny hot chocolate the same way–with almond milk or skim milk.
  • If you like apple cider, use 100% juice to get in a serving of fruit.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption, or try lighter alcoholic beverages like a wine spritzer or glass of champagne.


  • Practice mindful eating techniques to help slow your eating and limit your portion sizes while still feeling full and content. Studies show this can save about 200 calories.
  • Instead of lingering near the food table, find the kids at the party and play with them! Not only will you avoid mindlessly munching on appetizers, but you will burn calories running around with the children.
  • Offer to bring a dish to the holiday party. This way you can bring something of your choosing that you know is a healthy choice.
  • If you are hosting the party, serve raw veggies instead of chips with your healthy appetizers.
  • Do not arrive to the party hungry, or you may end up eating even more calories because you were so ravenous. Have a small snack of ΒΌ cup almonds.

Do you have any tricks or tips that you use during the holidays?


  1. Tammy Skye

    It’s really hard to keep yourself away from temptation especially during the holiday season. Thanks for the share Dan.

  2. Callie

    I have started making requests when it comes to holiday meals. I have asked them to make sure there are at least 2 healthy sides as options. They can have their mashed potatoes loaded with sour cream and cream cheese, they cam have white bread rolls and everything else, as long as there are also a salad and steamed green beans for me to enjoy. They like all that food too, just usually choose to indulge during holiday meals. I dunno if my mom/grandmother care, but they followed my request this year at thanksgiving and christmas and I made sure to let them know how much I appreciated it!

  3. Spectra

    Just join my family, haha. We’re not baking any cookies, having hardly any treats, or buying/having any candy because “everyone’s on a diet”. I generally try to just eat a little of my favorite foods and fill up on veggies and fruit so I’m not too tempted to overindulge.

  4. T. Kallmyer

    Great tips Dan! Thanks for sharing.

  5. live for food

    Definitely try and keep up with the exercise! Two 30 minute walks a day is my aim at the moment, to keep the holiday pounds at bay.

  6. O.

    I have never been good at avoiding over doing it during the holidays.

    Right now I have been craving iced tea all the time and it tastes 10 times better with real sugar in it.

    I know it’s winter, but I live in California. I want the tea more than any food right now, and when I crave something I have to have it.

  7. Dan

    I used to gain a lot of weight during the holiday season. Now I don’t. I exercise by bicycling everyday all year round. If I indulge too much I increase my exercise. I also limit the number of days I indulge. In the past I would be eating cookies and drinking egg nog all holiday season long. Egg nog can be used as a coffee creamer because just 2 to 4 tablespoons is sufficient for coffee.That amounts to between 50 and 100 calories, as opposed to the 400 calories in one whole cup. It also helps to eat plain brocolli, green beans and sweet potatoes instead of making these into fattening casseroles. Of course, spices can be used, but these don’t add calories.

  8. Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate

    The holidays can definitely be a challenging time for weight management! Making sure you keep active and continue to seek out nutrient-rich foods is a great plan of action to have. I find that if I continue to seek out high-fiber foods throughout the holidays, I often feel like I can make better food decisions throughout the season.