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Healthy Holidays: A New Tradition

We all have family traditions that make our holiday celebrations special. From your great-great-grandma’s sweet potato casserole or pecan pie, to your mother-in-law’s sausage stuffing or decadent plum pudding, there’s one thing that always seems to be a common factor among traditional holiday dishes: a massive amount of, fat, sugar, salt, and calories!

It’s not only a single meal but rather an entire season of parties, events, gatherings festivities, and unhealthy choices that add up to that holiday weight gain we resolve to lose when January rolls around. As the holiday season begins its rapid approach, take time and consider those past eating habits that set your new year off on the wrong foot. Why not make a resolution now to eat healthier this holiday season?

Just a few simple strategies can help make the difference and keep those unwanted pounds away. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t skip meals. Eating healthy on a regular basis will keep you from overindulging at holiday gatherings.
  • Use smaller plates for meals and gatherings and be mindful of portions
  • Choose more vegetables and smaller helpings of entrees and desserts
  • Drink more water and minimize alcoholic drinks and eggnog
  • Make healthier recipe ingredient substitutions when cooking and baking (Mayo Clinic):
    • Instead of heavy cream, use fat free half and half or evaporated skim milk
    • Instead of bacon, try Canadian bacon, turkey bacon or smoked turkey
    • Decrease sugar in baked goods by half and add vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon to intensify sweetness
    • Substitute applesauce or prune puree for half of the butter, shortening, or oil
    • Use two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for each whole egg
    • Replace salt with fresh or dried herbs and spices.

We can all still experience the joy of the holiday season, without making food the focus. Make a resolution to be mindful and eat healthier this holiday season, and your waistline will thank you.

Some additional links that you may find helpful:

https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/holidays-healthy-eating-guide

https://www.cdc.gov/features/HealthyResolutions/

https://choosemyplate-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/printablematerials/2013-HolidayMakeover.pdf

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-recipes/art-20047195?p=1

 

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Author: amymullins - amymullins@ufl.edu

Amy Mullins is a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Leon County, with programs focused on food & nutrition, food safety, health & wellness, and chronic disease prevention. Amy is a Registered Dietitian and a graduate of The University of Florida and Florida State University.

Permanent link to this article: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/2017/10/26/healthy-holidays-a-new-tradition/