This pilot randomised controlled study evaluated the effects of a nutrient-supported intermittent energy restriction nutrition programme to prevent weight gain in healthy overweight adults during the 6-week winter holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year. For 52 d, twenty-two overweight adults (mean age 41·0 years, BMI 27·3 kg/m2) were assigned to either the nutrition programme (n 10; two fasting days of 730 kcal/d (3050 kJ/d) of balanced shake and dietary supplements to support weight management efforts, followed by 5 d of habitual diet) or a control group (n 12; habitual diet). A significant weight loss from baseline (pre-holiday 10 d before Thanksgiving) to day 52 (post-holiday 3 January) was observed in the nutrition programme (75·0 (sd 9·8) v. 76·3 (sd 9·8) kg; P < 0·05). Body weight did not significantly change in the control group and there was no between-group difference. Increases from baseline in fasting insulin (42·9 %; P = 0·0256), updated homoeostasis model assessment (HOMA2) (43 %; P = 0·025), LDL-cholesterol (8·4 %; P = 0·0426) and total cholesterol (7·1 %; P = 0·0154) levels were also reported in the control group. In the nutrition programme group, baseline HDL-cholesterol and TAG levels measured after two fasting days increased (13 %; P = 0·0245) and decreased (22·8 %; P = 0·0416), respectively. There was no significant change in HOMA2. Between-group differences in changes in insulin levels (P = 0·0227), total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio (P = 0·0419) and HOMA2 (P = 0·0210) were significant. Overall compliance rate was 98 % and no severe adverse events were reported. These preliminary findings suggest that this intermittent energy restriction intervention might support weight management efforts and help promote metabolic health during the winter holiday season.