Keto Paleo Holiday

What’s the best way to avoid holiday weight gain?

Skip the sugar.

Easier said than done, right?

How exactly can one do that when temptations abound in the midst of trying to stay true to one’s New Year’s goals?

By following a ketogenic approach to their Paleo regime.

Sound too good to be true?

It’s not.  

Imagine how easy it would be to avoid candy, syrupy cocktails, and desserts of all types if they just didn’t appeal to you.  

When your body adapts to eating more fat and less carbohydrates, you simply don’t have the cravings for that sweet taste that can get you into trouble(1).

As the body adapts to using fat as its fuel rather than carbohydrates, its use of the hormones insulin and glucagon changes.

We need both insulin and glucagon to respond to various levels of glucose in the bloodstream.  While insulin responds and is secreted by the pancreas upon having high glucose levels in the bloodstream, glucagon responds and is secreted by the pancreas upon having low glucose levels in the bloodstream.  This maintains homeostasis in the body and keeps the blood sugar stable at all times (2).

By lowering the amount of sugar we consume, in effect, we reduce the amount of sugar cravings we will later have, as our blood sugar levels stabilize.

So how does that translate into what we’re actually eating?

How about the growing number of keto approved bars, shakes, and powders?

Perhaps in a pinch, but once again, if we shift back to a simple approach (of just eating food), we can easily create a delicious spread suitable not only for our day to day consumption, but also for our holiday tables.

If we consider that the crux of an eating approach like this should be mindfully sourced proteins, local, inseason veggies and nutrient dense fats, such as grass fed tallow, pasture raised lard and duck fat and coconut as well as olive oil, we have an abundance of options at our fingertips to prepare for our festive meal.

Below are my favorites, which easily fit into a keto / paleo approach, not to mention scoring quite high on the taste scale!

  •   Seasonal Salads Toss wild arugula with olive oil, toasted walnuts, sliced red onion, and a few slices of pear.  While pear alone isn’t low glycemic, a few slices tossed into a salad provides a hint of sweet yet the ample fat in the rest of the dish which lowers the overall glycemic load.
  •   Oven Roasted Turkey – and don’t shy away from the dark meat. Not only does it tend to be more flavorful and juicier, a nutrient found in the dark meat of poultry may provide protection against coronary heart disease (CHD) in women with high cholesterol, according to a study(3).
  •   Roasted Veggie Platter  Why fill up with breads, stuffing, and cheese and crackers when you can create a beautiful, colorful platter of roasted veggies?  Many inseason veggies have a net low carb reading. Simply do a bit of research (5) ahead of time to see what your choices are where you live.  Wash, cut into even pieces, and top with your favorite cooking fat, then roast in the oven at 450 degrees for about an hour with some fresh rosemary sprigs, turning once or twice during to ensure even cooking.
  •   Homemade Unsweetened Cranberry Sauce. Cranberries are part of a group of fruits with a medium glycemic index of 20 to 60, but again, a small serving along with all the delicious fat you’ll get from the roasted veggies and dark turkey, skin, not to mention pan drippings, won’t spike your blood sugar.

And what about that special occasion drink and/or dessert?

Go with a neat vodka, with a piece or two of 100% artisanal chocolate.

Both have an overall low net carb count, yet provide just a bit of decadence, perfect for your holiday special occasion treat.

Jazz up the vodka with a few pomegranate kernels for a festive treat!

Taking the time to factor in a mindfully planned and prepared treat as part of your 2018 routine is a great way to create a balanced plan that will ensure you success in the long run.


1. “Jeff Volek, PhD, RD & Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD.” Art and Science of Low Carb,
2. “Insulin vs Glucagon.” Diabetes Library,
3. “Nutrient Found in Dark Meat of Poultry, Some Seafood, May Have Cardiovascular Benefits.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily,

About Nell Stephenson, B.S.

Nell Stephenson, B.S.Nell Stephenson is a competitive Ironman athlete, personal trainer, and a health and nutrition consultant. She has an exercise science degree from the University of Southern California, a health/fitness instructor certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, and over a decade in the health, fitness and nutrition industry. To support her training for the Ironman Triathlon, Nell has tried many different nutritional plans and has found that the Paleo Diet is superior to all other ways of eating. She’s found that she’s leaner, faster, and fitter than ever before and uses her own experience to teach clients how to achieve optimal nutrition and health. Visit her website at Download meal plans tailored to you here.

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