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Healthier Holidays

The holiday season is here! This time of the year makes many of us think about festive gatherings and spending time with loved ones. It is important to remember how to manage your diet while you take part in the holiday fun. These 8 tips can help:

Follow your healthy eating plan at parties, gatherings, and other special occasions. .

Set some goals and communicate with your family regarding any diet restrictions or goals you may have. Maybe you can work together to start new, healthy family traditions ,  a holiday walk, a family game , or a healthy recipe and cooking contest.

Simple food swaps can taste great and help you stay healthy.

Does your family love creamy dips and cheesy casseroles? Try using plain nonfat Greek yogurt in your recipes, or cut the cheese and butter in your recipe by half. Include non-starch vegetable in your recipes.

Everyone loves stuffing at Thanksgiving. How about adding some extra vegetables to your stuffing, such as carrots, onions, mushrooms, and celery? If you remove the skin from chicken or turkey, you will lower the amount of saturated fat and calories.

Choose whole grain dinner rolls instead of white rolls. Go light on the butter, or use trans fat-free margarine.

When you make a fruit pie, sweet potato casserole, or apple crisp, add less sugar than the recipe asks for. The fruit in these dishes makes them sweet and flavorful without all that sugar.

Bring your own dish to the party, even if you’re not hosting! Veggies are often missing at parties, so bring some healthy foods, such as a salad with fall apples in it or a side dish with brussels sprouts.

Don’t go to the party hungry. You might think it’s a good idea to not eat before a party so you can enjoy more foods at the event. If you go out with an empty stomach, you might be so hungry that you will eat more food later, including foods that are not good for you. Have a small, healthy meal before the party, such as a small turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and a small side of fruit.

Plan ahead if you think you will eat sweets. People often celebrate holidays with fun desserts such as cookies and cakes, so if you think you will have a dessert at the party, make a plan first. Maybe you can have a smaller portion of your starches during the meal before dessert. If your favorite food is mashed potatoes or stuffing, skip the roll on the side.  It’s all about balance. Make it work for you!

Go light on the drinks. The holidays are a celebration. Try sparkling water mixed with Lemons, limes or a variety of fruits instead of alcohol products or soda pop.

Stay active. While you may move around to gather presents and other items for the holiday, stay active during the festivities too! Take a walk with family or friends after dinner, play with the kids, chat with friends away from the food table. Move around to meet different people at the party! Make your holidays about the people you are with and loved ones.