Harvard Health Letter

Making peace with holiday buffets

Tactical strategies to get you through the season of eating.

Overeating during the holidays is practically a tradition. "We rationalize that it's a special time, with foods that aren't available throughout the year," says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition for Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. But overindulging can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and guilt. So how should you approach the holiday buffet? McManus suggests these strategies for the next time you're facing marbled roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

Plan ahead

Find out when you'll be eating, and plan your day around it. For example, if you know a big dinner will be served at 8 p.m., eat a lighter breakfast and lunch than usual. But also have a healthy snack just before you leave home at 6 p.m. so that you don't arrive at the party feeling hungry; otherwise you'll overeat.

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