Editor’s note: The following article is contributed by Skinny Mom Resident Moms. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

The holiday season is back again, and while you you may be thinking of spending time with friends and family, buying gifts, decorating, and singing songs of cheer, you might be looking to forget that it’s also a time of food, food and more unhealthy food. These Resident Moms insist that you can still have a happy, healthy season without depriving yourself or overindulging. Check out their best tips below for balancing their lifestyles with the holidays.

thanksgiving dinner

“The day you have a holiday event or party, do NOT go hungry or skip meals! When you skip meals, you send mixed messages to your body that can mess with your metabolism and blood glucose levels, which can cause cravings and binging. I always make sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast in the morning and then I continue to eat healthy foods at regular intervals throughout the day like I normally would. Then, I will have a snack prior to the party so I do not arrive feeling hungry or feeling the urge to overindulge on temptations I otherwise wouldn’t!” – Megan Robison, RN

“The holidays are always a challenge! It’s hard to say ‘no’ to family and friends who have painstakingly prepared their specialties for these events. Good thing there are several things I learned from my nutrition program which helped me to remain healthy — or at least to stay within my calorie count!

Here are some of them that may help:

  • Take small portions.
  • Drink more water during meals to make you full.
  • Don’t sit too long by the dining table. Keep moving by talking to people, taking videos and pictures (my favorite!)” – Mayette Mariano

“Exercise is a huge part of my life. It not only makes me feel healthier, it encourages me to make better choices when it comes to what I eat. No matter what the holiday or where I’m celebrating, I make sure to exercise in the morning. It helps to keep me on track and feeling good, so I make better food choices throughout the day.” – Samantha Gordon

“My tip is very simple: I make sure that I keep up with my workouts. I think that is key to me staying healthy while being surrounded by holiday treats and temptations. I don’t sweat an extra cookie here or candy there – just enjoy a piece and get back on track. It is only once a year.” – Julia McClelland

woman running outside in the morning

“I keep in shape or maintain my weight by doing two things. First, I make exercise (even just walking) a priority. Thanksgiving morning I will do some sort of exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes. Second, when it comes to holiday food, I allow myself to take a small portion of everything, but it has to fit on one dinner plate! I don’t want to feel deprived by missing out on some good food. I also don’t take much leftovers home.” – Kelly Duplantis

“I stay healthy during the holidays by adding 5 minutes to my cardio routines and being choosy about side dishes and desserts. Just because there are a lot of options does not mean you have to try everything!” – Alaina Burran

“I’m a big fan of sweets, so it’s all about moderation. Sometimes it’s tough, but you can’t beat yourself up. Just be sure to learn and eat better the next time! By all means, don’t deprive yourself because, in my case, that’s when I just go crazy and moderation goes out the window.” – Nicole Zern

“Everyone knows that Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays known for sharing, caring, giving thanks and family. However, they are also known for rich foods with great flavor, wonderful desserts and falling asleep after indulging. Here are a few of the things I keep in mind during the holidays in order to stay on track with my fitness and health journey.

  • Take time to enjoy these special occasions as they only happens once a year.
  • There will be lots of food to choose from (keep an eye on portion size).
  • Remember, there will be leftovers (which tend to taste better anyway).
  • Stay on task the entire month with exercise and healthy eating 85 to 90 percent of the time.
  • Plan on using the holidays as your cheat days for that particular week.
  • Remember, you cannot undo all the great results you’ve have gotten in 1-2 days!
  • Eat light for a few days after the holidays are over.” – Shyrita Billups

family dinner

“As we start heading to family and friends’ homes for vacation, I believe that sticking to your workout routine and moderation when having meals is the key to staying healthy during the holiday season!” – Lena Lawson

“I have two priorities that help me maintain my healthy lifestyle during the holidays: exercise and skinny side dishes. Getting a good workout in before the chaos begins for the day ensures that nothing will get in my way later in the day. I’ve also learned that not everyone eats as clean as I do, so I tend to bring several dishes to gatherings to make sure I am satisfied. When I am satisfied, I know I won’t overindulge. Easy options include a simple spring mix salad that will pair well with turkey or chicken, roasted squash and/or root vegetables and a fruit tray to satisfy my sweet tooth.” – Leslie Guzinski

“Whenever I am preparing a side dish to bring to a party, I try to use healthy ‘alternatives’ to those not-so-healthy ingredients that some holiday dishes call for. Greek yogurt makes a fantastic substitute for mayonnaise and ¼ cup of natural applesauce in place of an egg when baking breads or dessert are both fantastic alternatives. Not only does this cut down on the amount of cholesterol in your treat but the calories as well, allowing you to enjoy your holiday just a little ‘healthier!’” – Nicole Miller

>> Try using applesauce in place of unhealthy ingredients with our Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Loaf!

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Loaf with Glaze

“There are two things I do to stay healthy during the holidays. First, I don’t take a holiday from exercise. It may mean rearranging my schedule, substituting in a different type of workout or getting creative with exercise like running a Jingle Bell 5K. The second thing I do is to keep out of the kitchen once a meal and clean up is over. Shutting down the kitchen and turning off the lights keeps me from returning to snack on leftovers and other holiday goodies that can add up to a lot of extra calories.” – Julie Davis

“I stay healthy during the holidays by adding 1-2 green smoothies daily. It takes me 3 days for my taste buds to get used to the taste but I tend to really enjoy these smoothies! I just use my regular blender – no stress or fanciness required. I can add in 2 vegetables and 3 fruits. My secret weapon is green grapes! They can be frozen for longevity and they give a wonderful sweetness. I have a plan so I can sample holiday foods without guilt. It’s pleasant to sip during drives to work, school pickups or my favorite evening show!” – Tanesha League

>> Recipe: Green Monster Smoothie [VIDEO below]

“These are my six go-to habits to ensure I stay healthy, enjoy the season and go into January 1 feeling great.

  • Start my day with warm lemon water and raw apple cider vinegar.
  • Drink my protein-packed green smoothie for breakfast.
  • Take my daily probiotic, vitamins and fish oil.
  • Prioritize exercise, even if it’s only a few minutes every day!
  • Support my daily wellness with essential oils.
  • Remember to smile and embrace the craziness!” – Angie Jones

“I stay healthy during the holidays by trying to limit the amount of sugar I am eating, making sure I am getting enough sleep and trying to minimize stress. I also make sure that my body is functioning at 100 percent by getting checked by a chiropractor regularly.” – Stefanie Salera

How do you survive the holidays? Share in the comments below!