Making Holiday Treats Fit Within Your Wellness Goals

Believe it or not, enjoying the full sensory experience of taste, texture and fragrance that comes with dining is a valuable part of a lifelong journey toward optimal wellbeing. Great news: that includes holiday treats! Read on for details on why enjoying a special treat during the holidays (if we choose to) allows us to live seasonally and continue our paths toward greater wellbeing!

Eating and enjoying the experience is a basic treasure of life: from the fragrance that fills the room (or entire home!), the meld of flavors masterfully paired and prepared and the variety of texture and taste when it’s finally time to enjoy the feast together.

The holidays are a unique time of year for our senses. But it can leave many of us concerned, even anxious about how good we’ll feel if we grab a second serving or try a dessert we’ve been avoiding for weeks, when we have our nutrition goals in the back of our minds.

Michelle Segar, a University of Michigan researcher and long-time health coach says we can find something that works for each of us so we can enjoy the flavors of the season while respecting the way we want to eat.

First, we have to understand what happens around treats specifically.

Treats tend to come wrapped in rules, guilt and should-do/should-not-do parameters. Think: “I can only eat one piece;” “I’m a failure if I eat it;” “I should be able to resist eating it,” etc.

When we eat a treat within this framework of thinking, it releases our internal rebellion or what Segar calls the rebellion decision-disruptor.

“Our human psyche has evolved to rebel against and overindulge in what we feel restricted by,” reminds Segar. This energy “overwhelms our body’s intuitive wisdom and leads us to overdo it and then blame ourselves and our lack of self-control.” These are not great feelings and this can sometimes be detrimental to progress made.

Instead, we can try making a neutralized, flexible decision that will allow us to both partake in and enjoy holiday gatherings but also allow us to feel good about respecting our nutrition goals. In doing so, we build self-trust and resilience that further evolves our self-care along our journey.

Here’s How:

  • Make it a treat you mindfully choose to eat.
  • Decide how much you want to eat and allow it to fit within your nutrition goals.
  • Enjoy the “full-bodied sensory world of taste, texture and aroma that accompanies [eating]!”
  • Withhold any judgement or punishments – allow it to be just what it is: simply a holiday treat that you decided to enjoy.
  • Allow yourself to feel grounded and feel good in enjoying the season AND respecting your goals.
  • Try this mantra: “I’m choosing the Joy Choice.”

We are making great choices to take good care of ourselves; it’s a beneficial decision to choose to enjoy the journey, too!


“Sustainable Change in the Real World Newsletter,” Michelle Segar,, accessed Oct. 31, 2022.

“The Joy Choice,” Michelle Segar, published 2022.