JNL's Three Tricks to Staying Slim and Trim in the Holidays

By Jennifer Nicole Lee,
Fitness Expert & Author
Miss Bikini America 2005, Miss Muscle and Fitness

This is the sticky time where your good habits will be put to the test, and your taste buds will be teased! I call it the “Tough Times” for passionate fitness lovers such as myself. Between Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday, we as Americans will indulge in food and drink like no other time of year. And the results? Well maybe we won’t feel it just after that one sip of eggnog, but we will end up paying for it over the long haul.

While those endless appetizers, huge portions of desserts, and endless glasses of cocktails may taste heavenly, for the average person, that equals gaining fat and weighing more on the scale.  And the amount of extra “tinsel” around the waistline may vary for some.  And don’t be fooled even by one pound as it may seem little, but this extra weight accumulates and may later contribute to obesity. And obesity sadly enough affects about 1/3 of Americans.

JNL’s EThree Tricks to Staying Slim and trim in the Holidays

Achieving the utter impossible, staying slim and trim during the holidays, is not about denying yourself the rights to a small portion of what you love.  And it’s not about having to live with flavorless, boring food. My advice is simple, such as cooking with healthy, fresh ingredients, watching your portion control and choosing quality over quantity. Don’t worry, just follow my 3 tricks to staying slim and trim during the holidays, and YOU WILL eat like a queen or king and stay lean!


Pay attention! This is the calling card that I tell my sons every day! Pay attention to details! And the same philosophy pertains to us adults too! I don’t want you to feel that you can’t enjoy your holiday meals, but you have to pay attention. Just because it’s the holidays, and it’s time to get joyful and gather together, it doesn’t mean that it’s a free for all showdown of food and gluttony.

Paying attention means being smart and becoming a “Concoction Queen!” I want you to focus on choosing healthier and fresher ingredients over packaged foods. I choose fresh local farmers market vegetables to prepare my warm casseroles with, instead of canned. And go for the color! The more colorful your plates, the more vitamin and antioxidant packed they are. So eat the rainbow this season, and you will keep your immunity on an all time high!

Instead of a lot of creams, half and half, and butter, use fresh veggies topped with a touch of low fat cheese and low sodium bread crumbs. You will find that you re able to enjoy the fresh sweet taste of nature without all the sugar, carbs, and empty calories.  I substitute sugar free orange preserves instead of sugar in most of my fruit glazes, thus slicing the calories in half.  And I also suggest olive oil in sautéing and roasting instead of butter. Not only are you adding flavor, but also antioxidants and good for you fats. 

And you don’t have to have a ton of fat and salt in a recipe for it to be a crowd pleaser.  When preparing a health-conscious holiday meal, try incorporating like-minded concepts and choose nutritious recipes. In my www.FitnessModelProgram.com you have a ton of recipes that you can even use for a large holiday gathering, but just up the ingredients by 2 if you have a party larger than 4 people. 

Another general rule of thumb is to make a list of missing ingredients from the pantry--including quality olive oil, sea salt, peppercorns, low-sodium chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, dried fruits and nuts--which add nourishing flavor to any meal. With these and more of the basics on hand, you'll avoid resorting to boxed mashed potatoes or canned cranberry jelly.

2.      Control Thyself! Also Known As Portion Control

Others say you can indulge as long as you practice moderation.

And yes, ladies, SIZE does matter! As in serving sizes! Don’t sabotage yourself by eating that extra serving. Instead have a few bites and savor it! And if you can also aim at leaving some food on your plate, you will be saving both time in the gym and also saving a few extra calories from winding up on the scale. 

Use my “JNL Holiday Plate” Equation to say slim and also to not hurt the chef’s feelings: With respect to the almost endless string of seasonal parties and gatherings you will attend, follow this trick: At dinner parties and brunch buffets, fill half your plate with vegetables and the remaining quarters with protein and a whole grain carbohydrate. By taking lunch and nutritious snacks to work, you avoid gorging on catered meals and boxed sweets frequently passed around most offices. It's also important to eat a small, healthy snack before heading out to a party; attending one on an empty stomach will often lead to overeating. Don’t allow that “super hunger” trigger to cause you to go overboard at the buffets. And leave food on your plate! It’s almost rude to eat it all, because in some cultures an empty plate signals that the host did not prepare enough food, and that you want more. So by leaving a few bites left, this signals that you are full, and the chef did prepare adequate food. (I learned this in China!)

3.      Always Pick Quality Over Quantity

Eating during the holidays is not a “Who can Unbuckle Their Pants First” Competiton! With so many choices at the dinner table or office potluck, it's hard to resist spooning a bit of everything onto your plate. Then, we often swallow bites of food that we don't savor, plus didn’t even want in the first place!

Instead eat things that look really good to you, but if they don't taste as good as you thought, don't finish it. This is not the time to be part of the clean plate club.

Last Notes On CockTails and Drinks During the Holidays!
Tis to the Season, and Cheers! The same rule applies to alcohol, which is rarely turned down when offered freely. Depending on the serving size and mixer used, a glass of wine, champagne, beer or liquor can have as little as 79 calories and as many as several hundred. I suggest that party-goers to decline drinks they don't enjoy and instead open a preferred bottle at home.

And lastly, don't waste your calories on junk wine.  If you are going to drink a glass, then make sure it’s the best! As I always say “Choose quality over quantity!”

Happy Holidays, and use my tips here and also my www.FitnessModelProgram.com so you won’t end up looking like Santa Clause by Christmas, or need a Resolution by the New Year!

Cheers to your health and happiness

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