Healthy Eating During the Holidays

healthy holiday eating

The holidays are not a time to give up on heathy eating! Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and other holidays, there are still many days that present the opportunity to maintain a healthy schedule! Do not write the entire months of November and December off! Here are a few tips to help with specific holiday eating that cannot, and should not, be avoided: 

FAMILY HOLIDAY MEAL 

Turkey: Choose light meat and keep your serving size to three ounces or a deck of cards. Turkey is a healthier option than ham, so choose it if possible, and if not, maintain the serving size rule for any other available meat.

Gravy: Skip it or keep your serving to one tablespoon. Leave it off your side dishes, and instead just use it for the meat option.

Dressing/Stuffing: Treat it like a side dish, not a main course, by taking a ¼ cup serving or half a scoop with a serving spoon. 

Casseroles: Veggie, sweet potato or otherwise, they are almost always high in fat, sugar or sodium. Limit yourself to a small spoonful, and fill up on salad or fresh veggies.

Dessert: Sample a selection or two rather than having a full serving. Choose to split a piece of pie, eat one small cookie or a small piece of fudge. The idea is to get to enjoy a taste but not over indulge.  

POTLUCK GET-TOGETHERS

Volunteer to bring a dish and make it healthy! This way you know you will have something wonderful and healthy to fill up on while also getting to sample some of the more unhealthy selections.

Eat healthy before and after the party!

If the party is at lunch, eat a substantial clean meal for breakfast so you are not starving come party time. If it is a dinner party, do not write off the entire day as a cheat day. Instead eat healthy and clean leading up to the event so you can indulge without guilt.

Look for healthy choices!

Search for veggies and dip, whole grain crackers, fruit, and baked and grilled options to fill up on instead of fried foods or items high in fat.

Satisfy your sweet tooth! 

Use the buddy system! Cut calories in half by splitting a dessert without being wasteful. As students, returning home for the holidays often means giving up control of meal choices and cooking! This can be a wonderful break from the stress of meal planning but also could result in unhealthy choices. If possible, guide your family to implement these healthy substitutes by helping in the kitchen. 

BAKING

  • Use applesauce in place of butter
  • Use natural, lower-calorie sugar substitutes (Stevia)
  • Use low-fat alternatives for dairy ingredients
  • Use half whole-wheat flour 

COOKING

  • Use vegetable oils or olive oil in place of butter
  • Use whole grains
  • Bake, grill or steam instead of frying
  • Use low-fat alternatives for dairy
  • Read labels and choose low-sodium/low-fat

STAY ACTIVE

Above all, it is so important to STAY ACTIVE during the holiday season!

  • Visit your local gym
  • Go ice skating
  • Do an online workout video (check YouTube for free options)
  • Offer to shovel the snow
  • Go for a walk or run… bring your dog, sibling or friend!