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    Healthy Eating During the Holiday Season

    Alyssa Welte Clinical Dietitian 11/22/2023

    The holiday season can be busy, but making healthy choices shouldn’t add stress! It’s okay to indulge in your favorite treats, but when every week brings another party, potluck or cookie platter, you may want to try some simple tips to keep your holidays healthier.

    Here are some tips to make your holiday treats a little healthier:

    Simplify high calorie casseroles.
    • Instead of green bean casserole, stick with fresh green beans or even reduced sodium canned green beans.
    • But don’t feel like you must cut your favorite food you look forward to every holiday season! If green bean casserole is your favorite side dish, just find ways to make it a little healthier. Use reduced-fat mayonnaise, heart-healthy cream of mushroom soup and unsalted green beans. 
    • Instead of sugary sweet potato casserole, try baked sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar. You can even add a few mini marshmallows and broil for a perfect sweet topping.
    Make simple, healthier ingredient swaps.
    • If you are making dips for the office party, replace high-fat bases such as cream cheese or mayonnaise with low-fat Greek yogurt or reduced-fat olive oil mayonnaise. Instead of salty crackers and chips for dipping, try different vegetables or fruits.
    • If you make baked goods or add flour to thicken your gravy, try whole grain flour instead of white flour.
    • Avoid salt in your meal by looking for reduced-sodium canned vegetables and broths.
    Don’t forget the protein.
    • When filling your plate with all the delicious sides, don’t forget the turkey or ham! Including good protein sources with your meals helps you feel fuller longer and may help you cut back on mindless snacking later.
    It’s okay to indulge in your favorite holiday desserts!
    • Pumpkin pie and pecan pie offer a lot of great vitamins, minerals and fiber. For a healthier option, consider topping off your pie with reduced-fat whipped topping instead.
    Be mindful of your drinks.
    • Sweet tea, juice, lemonade and soda add unnecessary calories and sugar. Choose water, unsweetened tea or mix ½ unsweet tea with ½ sweet tea for half the sugar.
    • If you choose to drink alcohol during the holidays, remember to drink in moderation: that means one drink for women and two drinks for men, and be sure to have a glass of water too.  
    Stay active.
    • Enjoy the time with your family. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, play football in the yard with kids and even decorating the house can be a workout sometimes.
    Most importantly, enjoy the holidays.
    All the calories from work parties, potlucks, family get-togethers and more can add up. Try to make healthy modifications, when possible, but you don’t have to miss out on that dessert you have been waiting for all year.
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