Healthy During the Holidays
Overindulging during the holidays can be easy
at holiday parties and gatherings where there
are high-fat, high-calorie foods. However, with
a little planning, it is possible to stick to
healthy eating habits during the
recipes. If you're not ready to give up
traditional holiday foods that aren't the
healthiest, try making a few substitutions that
will cut down on excessive calories, fat and
Remind yourself that
food isn't the reason for the party.
Remember that the appetizers and drinks
aren't why you're at a gathering - the people
are. "Focus on the social aspect of the
gathering," recommends Doralynne Jarvis,
assistant director of the Nutrition Services
Department at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in
Yankton, S.D. "Eat some foods that you like and
have a low-calorie beverage, but don't
continuously fill up your plate. It's ok to say
no. Know what your limits are."
If you have a party in the evening, start
the day with a high-fiber breakfast, such as
old-fashioned oatmeal made with low-fat milk.
Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast for even
more nutritional benefits. "A good heart-healthy
breakfast will help prevent giving in to those
cravings during the day," Doralynne
Bring a dish.
If you're going to a gathering that you
know isn't going to have many healthy options,
volunteer to bring an entrée, side dish or
appetizer that is lower in fat and calories. If
that isn't a possibility, eat well earlier in
the day and pass on foods at the party that are
Try using whole-wheat pastry
flour in baked goods like cakes, breads and
cookies, recommends Doralynne. It may take some
experimenting to find what works best for you
and your family, but Doralynne suggests a good
starting point is to replace half of the white
flour in a recipe with the whole-wheat flour.
"There is really not that much of a flavor or
color difference, and children generally don't
notice," she remarks.
choices while still getting the flavors you
crave. Fresh cranberry relish, for example, has
much less sugar than processed cranberry jelly
in a can. If pie is a treat you must have during
the holidays, choose pumpkin over pecan. Pumpkin
is a good source of potassium and fiber, while
pecan pie is high in fat and sugar with little
A more adventurous
substitution is silken tofu in creamy dips.
Silken tofu, which is high in protein, takes on
the flavors of the other ingredients while
having the same texture as mayonnaise or sour