WKU Nutrition Coordinator provides advice on nutrition during the holidays

Alexandria Anderson, News reporter

When it comes to the holiday season, it might be hard for students to stay nutritious. There are various ways that you can still keep a nutritious meal plan intact during the holidays, while still enjoying and participating in the big meals of the season.

Kelci Murphy, the WKU Nutrition Coordinator, explained some tips that she thinks help most when it comes to nutrition during the holiday season.

“I think some basic tips I really like to give people around the holidays are about holiday food specifically,” Murphy said. “We think about all the food that’s not available at other times during the year, and this could cause people to skip meals because they know they might eat a lot during that holiday dinner. We actually discourage people from skipping meals, because it could lead you to feel overly hungry or cause you to overeat. Just eating your normal meals or light snacks could help with nutrition on these days.”

She also explained some more specific ways to eat healthily over the holidays, even if it may seem like there aren’t that many options.

“I would also say a tip would be to opt for a smaller plate,” Murphy said. “Using the small salad or dessert plate for your actual meal could be helpful, because it’s easy to overfill your plate when using a larger plate, so using a smaller plate could help control portion sizes. I would also say not to forget your fruits and vegetables, and if those things are available, fill half your plate with them.” 

Aside from students who would just like to continue to eat healthy, the holiday season can also be difficult for those with dietary restrictions. Murphy spoke on possible ways for these students to participate in holiday meals that may not have food they can eat readily accessible.

“I think if those students have dietary restrictions then planning ahead would be most important,” Murphy said. “Maybe preparing a dish ahead of time that adheres to those dietary restrictions and bringing it to the dinner you go to would help. Just planning ahead, preparing a dish at home is good advice for this, as well as talking to whoever they might be eating with to get an idea of what might be available to see if they might have to bring something else to eat or eat beforehand.”

The overall goal of a nutritious diet is to continually build a balanced plate for every meal. This idea also extends to the holiday season, however no one should feel boxed in by forcing themselves to only have this balanced plate—enjoying meals with families during the season is just as important as your nutrition.

“I would say year round the goal is to build a balanced plate, and we’re still trying to stick with that balance during the holiday season, but everyone needs to allow themselves some flexibility with that,” Murphy said. “Eating for joy when it comes to eating is something we want to encourage as well. It’s OK to have those indulgences, especially around the holidays, and you can do that alongside keeping that balanced plate.”

News reporter Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected]