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  Fueling Your Body Over the Holidays

by Jack A. Medina, M.A.

and Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.

December 8, 2008


Many people ask me how to enjoy and get through the holiday festivities without gaining the average 5-7 pounds of weight.

The best way I know to do this is to let the Nutripoints Program be your guide. With Nutripoints it's possible to enjoy the special foods of the holidays, while maintaining your weight and getting the best nutrition at the same time!

Jack Medina
Holiday Nutritional Strategy

Dr. Roy Vartabedian developed the Nutripoints Program. Nutripoints rates every food for 26 key nutrients and gives one number for every food. The higher the number--the better the food.

His strategy to avoid those extra pounds over the holidays is to (1) choose the highest rated foods (2) eat less of the negative-rated foods and (3) add some extra activity to your day.

Notice he didn't say "avoid" eating the low-rated foods. Deprivation, especially during a time which is supposed to be happy and enjoyable, can only lead to repressed cravings which in turn cause a rebound effect later. So the goal is to pack as much nutrition in, while enjoying highly tasty foods in moderation; a damage-control approach.

Learn More About Nutripoints--Click Here

Rating Foods
Rating the Holiday Foods

Here is a list of the Nutripoint scores of common holiday foods. Remember, the higher the score, the more nutritional value. If a food scores "0" or "negative," that means it has little or no nutrition--and possibly some "negatives" for your health as well.

  • Spinach Salad: 65.0
  • Broccoli, Raw: 53.0
  • Cauliflower, Raw: 40.5
  • Cauliflower, Cooked: 37.0
  • Broccoli, Cooked: 38.5
  • Carrots, Raw: 35.5
  • Mixed Salad: 33.0
  • Carrots, Cooked: 30.0
  • Green Beans: 24.5
  • Celery, Raw: 20.0
  • Fruit Salad: 13.0
  • Sweet Potatoes, baked: 12.0
  • Orange Juice: 11.0
  • Skim Milk: 9.5
  • 1% Milk: 8.0
  • Corn, Cooked: 8.0
  • Grapefruit Juice: 8.0
  • Cranberry Juice: 7.0
  • 2% Milk: 6.0
  • Pineapple Juice: 6.0
  • Grape Juice: 5.5
  • Ham, Lean: 5.0
  • Turkey, Light: 4.5
  • Sweet Potatoes, mashed, candied: 4.0
  • Turkey, Dark: 3.0
  • Applesauce: 3.0
  • Whole Milk: 2.5
  • Ham, Regular: 2.0
  • Crackers: 2.0 to 6.0
  • Cottage Cheese: 1.5
  • Mashed Potatoes: 1.0
  • Roast Beef: 0.5
  • Coffee, decaf: 0.5
  • Pork Roast: 0.0
  • Steamed Shrimp: 0.0
  • Diet Drinks w/o caffeine: 0
  • Light Sour Cream: -1.0
  • Stuffing: -1.5
  • Mixed Nuts, roasted, salted: -1.5
  • Waldorf Salad: -2.0
  • Bread Pudding: -2.0
  • Christmas Cookies: -2.0
  • Eggnog: -2.0
  • Cheese: -2.0 to -3.0
  • Ice Cream: -2.0 to -4.0
  • Diet Drinks w/caffeine: -2.5
  • Gravy: -2.5
  • Cranberry Sauce: -3.0
  • Sour Cream: -3.5
  • Apple Pie: -4.0
  • Coffee, regular: -4.0
  • Milk Chocolate: -4.5
  • Dip, Onion: -5.0
  • Jello Gelatin: -5.0
  • Soft Drinks w/o caffeine: -5.5
  • Light Beer: -5.5
  • Soft Drinks w/caffeine: -6.0
  • Pumpkin Pie: -6.0
  • Pecan Pie: -7.0
  • Butter: -7.5
  • Wine Cooler: -8.0
  • Beer: -8.0
  • Wine: -14.0
  • Hard Liquor: -17.0

Eating Over Holidays
Nutripoint Tips Over the Holidays

Here are some more specific tips Dr. Vartabedian provides to help you:

  1. Try not to "starve" yourself before a holiday meal. Eat lighter in quantity than usual--eat a light, healthy breakfast and a small snack to keep your blood sugar in the normal range before a potentially tempting meal.
  2. Use "Nutripoint-recovery" in reverse. Eat high-Nutripoint scored foods before holiday or other high-calorie meals to get more nutrient density before eating foods you know will not be as healthy for you.
  3. Offer to bring a favorite low-calorie, high-Nutripoint dish to holiday parties, so you know there will be at least one "safe" item available.
  4. Eat large portions of salad and vegetables first at the holiday meals. This will boost your Nutripoint score tremendously and give you a buffer of points to counter any negatively-scored foods you eat. This will also help you feel full so you have less room for foods with less nutrition.
  5. Eat two Juice Plus+ Thins® high-fiber wafers about 15-20 minutes before your meal along with water, 100% fruit juice, or skim milk to decrease your appetite before the meal and gradually increase your blood sugar. For more info on Juice Plus+®, click HERE .
  6. When given a choice of foods with higher scores such as light meat vs. dark meat or lean vs. fatty, choose the higher-scored food if you possibly can.
  7. Drink very little or no alcohol in social situations. Substitute with fruit juices or water. Alcohol can decrease judgement, so you might binge.
  8. Eat what you like at holiday meals, but eat half the portion and eat smaller bites for more enjoyment and satiety.
  9. Take a short walk before or after the meal to burn extra calories and keep metabolism high. Also add extra 5-20 minute walks whenever you can. Get to the health club or use that exercise machine at home one more time each week during the holidays.
  10. Wear snug-fitting clothes and avoid elastic waistbands when possible to help you get the signal to stop eating early before it's too late in the meal.
  11. Control emotionally and socially-triggered eating throughout the holiday season by drinking a non-calorie beverage like water with lemon or eating a low-calorie snack like celery or carrot sticks. Substitute other enjoyable activities for pleasure eating. You can do it!

Winning Edge Package
Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

It's not too late to order one of our healthy holiday gift ideas! Here is a list for you:

The Winning Edge Package

NEW! SuperCharge for the Winning Edge

The Nutripoints Program

NEW! NutriHeroes/NutriZeroes Kid's Placemat/Chart

NEW! Kid's Fruit & Veggie Color Bingo Game


We wish you all of God's blessings this holiday season and for the new year!

Yours for fitness and health,

Jack A. Medina, M.A.

Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.

Designs for Fitness & Wellness

phone: 541-474-2454 or Toll-Free Order Line: 1-866-204-8786

Author/speaker and an expert in Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

This article contains copyrighted material. Copies of this article may be reprinted without permission of the author only when this bi-line is included with each copy. Jack can be reached at