Social Gatherings, Vacations and More!

by Jenn (eating bender) on June 10, 2009

Alright, you knew this was coming.


I’m ready to shout it from the roof tops :) But I’ll settle with my best friend’s birthday celebration, which just so happens to be tonight. Quite the happy coincidence!


On Monday morning, I had the opportunity to interview Holley Grainger, M.S. R.D., a food editor for With an upcoming graduation and vacation to Hawaii, there are going to be a lot of opportunities to try great food in social situations, and I thought it would be fun to get her take on some of the best tips for staying healthy while still enjoying yourself! I hope you enjoy the interview!


Could you tell me a bit about yourself and the work you do for

Sure! I went to school at the University of Alabama and did an internship in Charleston to become a registered dietitian. I then came to Oxmoor House and worked on cookbooks for Weight Watchers and Cooking Light, then went over to Southern Living. launched May 1, 2007, and I started in late March/early April and have been here since then. My main responsibility involves healthy diets. I oversee the site, write new content, and hire freelancers to write stories. We develop new topics each week and try to stay seasonal and current with what is going on. I also oversee the grilling channel, which the staff works on as a team, so everyone is assigned to different subchannels that are updated weekly. There is also a daily video series for Cooking Light called Dinner Tonight, where we make a Cooking Light recipe that takes 45 minutes or less to prepare. I also do a lot of spokesperson work for the site and do a lot of traveling to help promote what’s going on.

(Jenn’s note: Whew! She has a lot of responsibilities – I am very impressed!)

It’s graduation time for me, and that means a lot of social gatherings, food and did I mention, food? How do I navigate these events and avoid overdoing it?

There are a few key tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep alcohol in check. A lot of the parties will have many different beverages. Try to drink a glass of water in between each beverage. It gives you something to have in your hand while talking. If you have a mixed drink, try diet soda, soda water or something that’s calorie free. Stick to light beer and watch out for creamy drinks. Basically, stick with the lighter options.

2. Stick with small portions. Try to eat a small meal even if it’s some soup or salad so that you’re not ravenous when you get to the party and reach for the first thing in sight. Stick with small portions and try not to graze. If there are dips, use veggies versus chips for dipping.

3. Don’t deprive yourself, but try to keep everything in check. You can eat your favorite things, but try to take little bites. Sit down and eat mindfully so you know you’re eating and try not to hang out by the food so that when you’re finished, you know you’re done.

(For more tips, check out this link: The Party Girl’s Guide to Staying Slim During the Holidays)

Alright, once I make it through graduation, I’m going on a vacation with my mom. The tropical drinks are tempting! First of all, in your opinion, how hard is it to stay healthy while on vacation?

It really starts in the airport or in the car if you just have to sit for a while. Pack some healthy snacks, even if it’s some nuts or peanut butter crackers or cheese crackers. Go ahead and pack or check those things. There’s an article on the site called Beat Those Airplane Hunger Blues which has rules for when you’re traveling. We also have an Airline-Friendly Snacks slideshow of seven different recipes you can make, bring with you and have no trouble going through security. Plan before you go, and that will keep you from jumping in.

What are some of the best ways to stay mindful and healthy once I get there?

Try to stay hydrated throughout your travels. It helps keep you feeling awake and not feeling fatigued. It also keeps you from feeling hungry during the trip. When you are on your trip, try to have a salad or soup at the beginning of your meal and lay off the bread plates. Get the soup or salad ordered right away so that you don’t overindulge. When possible, split meals and then if you want something sweet, split a dessert, so you don’t have that much food in front of you. Portion sizes are so huge these days. And again, watch the alcohol consumption.

And of course, if we’re talking about a beach vacation, I have to mention swim suits. What are some of the easiest ways to translate a bikini body diet into a more permanent way of living?

We have an article on the site called Sexy Bikini Body Foods. With, we never try to make any claims that you are going to lose a lot of weight quickly. We try to focus on those healthy foods you need to load up on for a healthy body. But in general, these are some great tips:

1. Get in the gym. Get outside and walk. Just be active. Start small. Even if you do 10 minutes a day three times a day, it adds up to 30 minutes a day of activity. If you’re routinely active, bump it up a little more and change it up, try something else.

2. Try to stock up on the foods that are known to help keep you full. I’m a big proponent of lean protein. It’s a great way to help lose weight. There’s a strong link between weight loss and fish, low-fat dairy, etc. If you combine that with a high fiber diet, it helps keep you full. Whole grains is another one. Cut out refined sugars and put dessert on hold for a few weeks. Really try to stick with whole grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, bulgur, or whole wheat pasta. Stay away from white starchy foods. The whole grains are so high in fiber that they help keep you full and slow down digestion.

Pack in as much as you can non-starchy vegetables and high water content fruits and vegetables so you’re still getting in the fiber and nutrients without all of the calories. There is also a big link between dairy and weight loss, so choose low-fat cheeses, milk, or yogurt.

3. Fill up on the water. Whether it’s high water content foods or sipping on water throughout the day, drinking a lot of it prevents fluid retention and hydrates your skin.

These are all great tips! Last question, how do you come up with all of this?

A lot of the time it’s just looking at blogs or looking at what’s in magazines. It’s also through experiences. We hear from our viewers and try to respond to that. The airplane tips came out last year when they started cutting out snacks. We wanted to provide our answer to what was going on. Other than that, it’s just paying attention and trying to follow trends. We go to food conferences and always try to stay up to date with what’s going on and find our special twist on what that might be.


Thank you so much to Holley and to Miranda, who organized our interview! I learned a lot of valuable tips and am very impressed by If you have a moment, check it out!

Be back soon with a book review that I am very excited about!

Tubular Tuesday? How about Wild Wednesday?


{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle June 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Doesn’t it feel good to be finished!? Especially with all your exciting events coming up! Enjoy this time, it’s so much fun!! You’ve earned it Jenn!!



2 fitforfree June 10, 2009 at 11:01 am

Congratulations!! I was SO happy when I graduated . . . ride the high for as long as it lasts :-)


3 Erin June 10, 2009 at 11:05 am

YaYYYYYYYY! Congrats Jenn! It’s awesome!
Enjoy yourself and celebrate!!


4 Monica June 10, 2009 at 11:07 am

Congrats!!! Enjoy everything you have coming up! It such an exciting time in your life. That was a great interview with Holley, thanks!


5 Shelby June 10, 2009 at 11:09 am


Great interview, I love all the tips.


6 Danica June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am

Congrats on being finished – yahoo! I LOVE – thanks for the write up/interview!


7 Lara (Thinspired) June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am

CONGRATS, JENN!! I hope you do something really fun to celebrate 😀
Fun interview…I want Holley’s job!!


8 sweetandnatural June 10, 2009 at 11:42 am

CONGRATS JENN!!! Hooray! Enjoy Senior Week – it’s SUCH a blast!


9 brandi June 10, 2009 at 11:42 am

Congratulations!!! That is so exciting, and you and your mom will have SUCH a great time in Hawaii – what a great way to end your school career :)

Great interview and tips, too!


10 Fitzalan June 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

Excellent interview. There are some great tips in there!

And you managed to do this interview while finishing up school….you rock!
Happiness Awaits


11 Betsy June 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Congratulations!! And I forgot to tell you that I loved your guest post (forget which blog it was on…) about photojournalism. :)


12 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) June 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY Congratulations! You must be feelin good right about now. Thanks for posting this interesting interview too!


13 Allison June 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm

CONGRATS MY DEAR – Welcome to Grownuphood. It’ll be scary, it’ll be funny, it’ll be crazy – but in the end it’s all worth it :)

So happy for you that you are done! Now on to wedding plans? 😉


14 april June 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Congratulations!! I still have a while! lol


15 Jessica (jesslikesithot) June 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Congrats Jenn!!!!!!! Please, please, please enjoy the vacay with your mom….you totally deserve pure relaxation and try not to stress about A THING!!!! You’re finally finished! So happy for you! :)


16 lowandbhold June 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Great interview! Have fun on your trips (I just went to Hawaii this month and it rocked my world!). Congrats on being done with school!!!


17 Jenny June 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

great tips.. thanks for sharing =) and CONGRATS on being donezo with college!


18 janetha June 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm

congrats to you! i have fun at the partayyy. thanks for sharing the interview!


19 Maria June 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Congratulations on all your hard work throughout college! Feels quite good doesn’t it :D? Whoohoo Class of ’09!

It’s really interesting to see all you can do with a degree in RD. I was contemplating on getting my master’s in nutrition, but decided to stick with what I did for my undergrad, and did some research on what you do as an RD. It seems like Holley took the “all of the above” option 😉


20 Anne K. June 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm

YAY for being done with college! Congrats!!

Cool interview, too 😀 Those are some great tips!


21 Shannon (The Daily Balance) June 10, 2009 at 2:21 pm

CONGRATS!!!!!! so happy for you 😉


22 eatingbirdfood June 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Woo hoo for being DONE DONE DONE!!

Holley is really knowledgeable, and what a fun job she seems to have. Thanks for all the great tips!


23 Melissa S. June 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm

great interview! i loved the questions you picked and of course all the great answers!!!


24 Marianne June 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Congrats on finishing school – defintiely an accomplishment to be celebrated!


25 Heather Eats Almond Butter June 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm

You’re done…many many congrats my friend!

Thanks for this interview. Holley’s job sounds totally cool, and she had some great tips to offer.

Hope you have a wonderful day!


26 Andrea June 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm

You must be on cloud 9! Congrats on finishing college – it only gets better from here!


27 ksgoodeats June 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I love that website!!

CONGRATS on being done!


28 jenngirl June 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Congrats congrats!! I know you’re excited! :)

Great interview, really good tips.


29 lilveggiepatch June 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Congratulations, Jenn!


30 Kristie Lynn June 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Yay for you on finishing college! I did about a month ago and I’m still relishing the feeling :) Live it up on all the fun things you have going on this summer!


31 Mara @ What's For Dinner? June 10, 2009 at 8:42 pm

CONGRATULATIONS MY DEAR!!!! I’m so incredibly proud of you!!! I told you I’d never forget that feeling of being DONE… it’s pretty wonderful, huh?? Your interview with Holley was way more impressive than mine, but I guess that comes from your being a PR/Media person? That, or the fact that you totally rock! Congrats again, and we’ll figure out a celebration time soon! I’m in Glenview every day from Friday on!


32 Alison June 10, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Great interview! Congrats on school. So nice to be done!


33 broccolihut June 10, 2009 at 10:41 pm

So cool that she went to U of Alabama and worked for Southern Living–their HQ is about 5 minutes from my house!


34 eatavegan June 11, 2009 at 7:12 am

Hooray, you’re done!! Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy your first taste of freedom — and your tropical vacation!


35 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) June 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Congrats on being done!

Great interview!


36 elise June 12, 2009 at 10:53 am

GREAT interview…since im leaving for hawaii in a few days ill be checking out those airplane tips for sure. can you believe its a 14 hour flight from the east coast…and thats not even door to door!! geeeez.

congrats again on graduation! so exciting! have fun on vacay with your momz.

oh and btw, annoyingly enough, if you use googel reader, you need to change my subscription to
(even though my website is the same)…i have no idea why, technology eludes me


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