Tips for Eating Wisely & Well during the Holidays

Tips for Eating Wisely & Well during the Holidays

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, people can gain pounds that stick with them the rest of the year. This is particularly true for those age 55 and better, who can gain weight more quickly due to natural changes in metabolism and hormones. Of course, you can try to burn off those extra calories with exercise—but it’s much easier to practice moderation in the first place.

Here are some tips to help party-goers of all ages avoid annual holiday gain:

1. If you’re an evening exerciser, try moving your workouts to the mornings for the remainder of 2018, so that the season’s get-togethers don’t interrupt your exercise routine.

2. Don’t go to a holiday party hungry! You’ll have more will power near the buffet table if you eat a healthy, filling snack before you leave. Try an apple with peanut butter, or Greek yogurt mixed with fruit.

3. If you’re heading to a potluck or party where additional dishes are welcome, bring something healthy, like a veggies-and-dip platter. That way you’ll have at least one nutritious choice.

4. When you arrive at an event, discreetly scope out the food options before you start nibbling. Choose the healthiest options and decide which treats you must have—then skip the rest.

5. Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating, recommends choosing only two items from the buffet or snack selection. (You can return as many times as you like, but stick with two items.) Research has shown that a variety of food can stimulate your appetite, and this will prevent that stimulation.

6. Have a piece of sugarless gum or a mint ready for when you’ve eaten all you think you should.

7. Throw your own party where you can control what’s served. Include healthy options for drinks as well as dining.

8. When drinking, stick with wine, sparkling wine, or beer. You’ll avoid high-calorie mixers in many cocktails—including soda water, tonic, and juices.

9. Alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of still or sparkling water. This will help keep you hydrated and sober, and save calories for the goodies at the buffet!

10. Be aware of how many calories (and how much alcohol) is in your glass. Depending on the generosity of your bartender, your glass of wine may hold more than a standard serving (5 ounces).

11. If you give baked goods as gifts, get them wrapped and out the door as soon as possible. (Try the recipe for Sugar Pecans, provided here.) Keep a few treats for yourself, but any surplus should be given away. Extras make great gifts for your hairdresser, your doctor’s office, your neighbor, your mail carrier…

At a holiday party, practice moderation by choosing just two items at a time from the buffet or available snacks. This avoids having a variety of food on your plate, which has been shown to stimulate your appetite.

Eat Well at Any Age

The appreciation and importance of eating well doesn’t change later in life. At Mather LifeWays, a not-for-profit organization with multiple senior living residences, the focus is on serving up dynamic culinary experiences to residents at every meal. “Quality and variety are our main ingredients, which is why our communities include multiple restaurants with distinct menus that integrate seasonal favorites and ever-changing chef specials.” says Cheryl Lucas, Mather LifeWays Director of Culinary Services. “Residents in our communities can savor elegant cuisine or fast casual; they can get that meal to go, or of course cook for themselves in their fully equipped kitchen. However they decide to dine, they won’t be bored!

Residents of The Mather will enjoy culinary services including multiple dining venues, meals to-go, and catering for private events—as well as the option of cooking in their apartment homes.

Plan to Dine in Style at The Mather

Mather LifeWays is planning a new Life Plan Community in Tysons, Virginia, called The Mather. There, residents age 62 and better will enjoy culinary delights and more, including:

  • multiple restaurants serving up distinct experiences from modern casual and a Euro-style café to formal dining venues
  • a full-service lifestyle with various culinary package options, housekeeping, and concierge and valet services
  • spacious, modern-living floor plans including one- and two-bedroom options, some with dens
  • a fitness center and day spa including indoor swimming pool, group exercise studio, and cardio/weight training
  • inspiring social and cultural opportunities such as digital media workshops, live music, art + technology seminars, and featured lecturers

The Mather will combine everyday lifestyle comforts and conveniences with quality amenities and services, all while offering the someday benefits of health care within the community; residents of The Mather will have access to on-site assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation services if ever needed. This continuum of living will allow them to age in place right in the community, surrounded by familiar faces and the many comforts of home.

The Mather is projected to open in 2022. For more information, visit or call (703) 348.8522.

Information about The Mather is subject to change. The proposed community plan for The Mather has been submitted to Fairfax County for land use approval.

Life Plan Communities like The Mather offer beautiful apartment homes such as this rendering shows, plus an array of on-site amenities for residents such as dining venues, a fitness center and indoor pool, a movie theater, and more.

Recipe for Sugar Pecans

3 lbs. pecan halves or any desired nut

3 lbs. light brown sugar

1 cup egg whites

2 tsp. cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl, put brown sugar, cinnamon, and egg white and mix. It will resemble wet sand. Add the nuts and toss to completely cover.
  2. Pour onto three sheet pans and place in a 225-degree oven.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, then take out and toss….do this every 15 minutes for 1 to 1.5 hours until the nuts are “dry.”
  4. When cool, you can store in a metal tin or bag for individual gifts. They last for months!