Nothing derails a commitment to your diet faster than the large meals and parties that are unavoidable during the holidays. In fact, studies show that 75 percent of annual weight gain happens during the holiday season. With temptation and the constant pressure to indulge, what can you do to eat responsibly?

Scores from the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System, a science-based system that displays the true nutrition in food, provide consumers with an easy guide to eating (and serving) healthy holiday meals that won’t require a New Year’s resolution to drop extra holiday pounds.

The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System is available at all Brookshire’s and Super 1 Foods stores across Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Simply look for the number printed inside the hexagon on the shelf tag on products. Foods are graded on a scale between 1 and 100. The higher the NuVal Score, the more nutritious the food is overall.

NuVal Scores are based on an algorithm created over two years by Dr. David Katz and a dozen of the country’s top minds in nutrition science. In addition to being endorsed by the American College of Preventive Medicine, a Harvard study revealed that people who ate a diet of foods with higher NuVal Scores lived longer and had fewer chronic diseases like diabetes or hypertension.

NuVal Suggested Holiday Eating Tips:

Never go to a party hungry. Make sure to have a small, protein-packed snack such as walnuts (NuVal Score 82) before heading out so you won’t be as tempted to pile your plate at the buffet table.

Offer to bring an appetizer or side dish. Since you are preparing it yourself, you can bring a healthy option that you know won’t derail your normal diet. At the very least, you’ll know there’s one thing you can eat.


When in doubt, stick to the items in their most natural form. For example, fruits, nuts or any vegetables from the appetizer platters, but skip the heavy dip.

Do not stack foods on top of each other to fit more on your plate. Pick those that are most appealing to you and stop once you are full.

Choose only one dessert to indulge in instead of a small piece of each one available.

Hosting a dinner or party this holiday season? Here are some helpful hints—using NuVal Scores as a guide—on how to keep the holidays healthy without sacrificing taste:


Creamy dips and decadent prepared starters (think bacon-wrapped scallops, which can score as low as 16 on the NuVal Scale) can be some of the biggest culprits on the appetizer menu. Substituting plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (NuVal Score 93) for ingredients such as sour cream (NuVal Score 26) or mayonnaise (NuVal Score 3) in recipes can lighten the calorie load while adding filling protein.

Main Course

The best way to cut the fat content in the main dish is to opt for baking a light, white fish, such as Tilapia (NuVal Score 82) or chicken breast (NuVal Score 41) or by choosing a lean cut of meat such as top round (with a NuVal Score of 37). If you are preparing a vegetarian option, portabella mushrooms (NuVal Score 53) or eggplant (NuVal Score 96) are both great nutritious options.

Side Dishes

Piling your plate with side dishes can mean disaster for your waistline if you aren’t careful. Traditional items such as stuffing can be made nutritious with wild rice instead of bread, and add-ins such as onions and fresh cranberries to provide a wonderful taste or slight sweetness.


Everyone loves decorating gingerbread and sugar cookies around the holidays, and we all know there is never a shortage of sweets at parties. To cut cholesterol levels, use two egg whites to every whole egg in baking recipes and replace heavy cream (NuVal Score 4) with evaporated skim milk (NuVal Score 100) in creamy pies and cheesecakes.