by Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE


Healthy holiday eating is a frequent topic this time of year. It comes up time and time again (every year to be exact!). I often wonder if people really want me to tell them what not to eat during this festive season of the year? Turns out, there is quite an interest in healthy holiday eating and for that, we should celebrate!  Healthy eating is important all year long but it is more challenging during times when we gather together to eat, drink and be merry. Here are three of my favorite holiday strategies.

Sip mindfully:

• Alcohol is 75-350 calories (per serving) depending on what you are sipping.

• Try sparkling water + lime wedges and pomegranate seeds for a joyful calorie-free alternative.

• Sip on soup– sipping soup before a meal may help you eat less at the meal. Stick to broth-based soups for the best caloric strategy. Soup is also a great delivery vehicle for veggies. Make a big pot of soup for sipping before meals or for emergency lunches or dinner on the fly. Sip on soup for the win!

Savor the foods you enjoy most:

• Survey the food table and decide what is worth the splurge. You have the freedom to navigate the selections and make strategic choices.

• Consider how you want to use your calories– do you want one large consumption of 600 calories for the week or would two 300-calorie indulgences do the trick? The time between Halloween and New Year’s Day should not be one continuous food fest. Being intentional about what treats to eat will increase your happiness throughout the holiday season without sacrificing your health.

• Once you settle on a splurge– savor it without guilt! Then afterward, continue your healthful eating (fruits, veggies and balanced meals) the rest of the week.


• It is the season to celebrate good health, friendship, family, faith and the ability to move– yes, it is a blessing to be able to exercise!

• Find ways to celebrate with the family that don’t center on food. Try ice skating, taking a stroll on the Augusta Canal, running through Blanchard woods or biking the Greeneway Trail.

• Usher in new food traditions or update old classics with a twist on the key ingredients.

Here is a great broth-based soup that uses Thanksgiving leftovers. Enjoy!

Traditional Turkey Soup

This recipe uses many leftover herbs and vegetables you may still have after cooking the big bird.

Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 cups chopped onion (one medium)

1 cup chopped carrot

2 cups chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

3-4 thyme sprigs (optional, but if you have them toss them in)

1/4 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

3-4 cups chopped leftover turkey (or rotisserie chicken)

Chopped parsley (garnish)

3 cups whole grain pasta (cooked)

Spray the bottom of a Dutch oven (large pot) with vegetable oil cooking spray, add canola oil and place over medium heat for a minute.  Add onion, carrots, celery and sage, sauté for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add broth, water, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Add the turkey and heat throughout. Evenly divide noodles into bowls and add soup. Top with parsley.

Yield: 6 servings (Serving size: 1 ½ cup)

Nutrition breakdown. Calories 240, Fat 2g (0.5g saturated fat), Cholesterol 65mg, Sodium 490mg, Carbohydrate 28g, Fiber 4g, Protein 28g.

Diabetes exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 ½ starch, 3 lean meats

Kim’s note:

• This is great served over pasta, rice or barley. I like to cook my rice/pasta separate so that it does not continue absorbing liquid as it sits in the soup.

• If you do not have enough leftover turkey, toss in a can of drained and rinsed white beans.

Until next time; eat well, live well.



Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at To search for specific recipes go to You can also watch the segments at


This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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