Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Hints for Healthy Holidays

The holiday season is a time for celebrating with our families, friends, and colleagues. And of course, the festivities are accompanied by an abundance of undeniably delicious appetizers, desserts, candies, and other calorie-laden treats. As you enjoy the holidays, keep a few simple tips in mind to stay on track for a healthy new year!

Nutrition Tips

  • Start your day with healthful foods such as whole grains, fruit, low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and peanut butter. A wholesome breakfast will help you avoid overeating later in the day.
  • At the holiday buffet, choose a balance of high-calorie favorites and low-calorie, high-fiber options such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Remember portion control. Savor the taste of high-calorie hors d’oeuvres a and desserts in small amounts!
  • Choose non-alcoholic beverages, such as sparkling water with a twist of lime or lemon, or alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes drowsiness and lowers your resistance to overindulge.
  • Make simple substitutions for a healthier holiday menu. Hint: Modifying ingredients may alter the flavor or consistency of the product, so try new recipes before the holidays.
    • Use low-fat or fat-free versions of ingredients such as milk, cheese, sour cream, cream soups, and cream cheese.
    • Reduce the amount of shortening or oil in the recipe by 25%. Hint: Reducing the fat content increases the intensity of spices and herbs in the product.
    • Substitute fruit or vegetable purees for half the oil (not solid fat) in the recipe. Hint: For the most flavor, match the puree’s flavor to the baked product (e.g., carrot puree in a carrot cake; banana puree in banana nut muffins). Baby food works well as a puree.
    • Substitute Eggbeaters for whole eggs.
    • Reduce sugar by 25-33% in baked goods and desserts. Hint: Add cinnamon, vanilla, or almond extract for “sweetness.”
    • Substitute whole-wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour.
    • Omit or reduce salt by 50% in recipes. Hint: Add herbs & spices for enhanced flavor.

Activity Tips

  • Spend time talking with others at the party. In addition to enjoying the conversation, you will eat at a slower rate, allowing time for satiety signals to reach your brain. You then will be more likely to avoid second helpings.
  • Step up your physical activity over the holidays! Physical activity burns calories, renews your energy level, and relieves holiday stress.

Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season!

This article originally appeared in Nutri-bytes (December 2008), a service of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission.

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Go to the Diet and Nutrition health topic.