Healthy Eating for the Holidays!


The holiday season is fast approaching and an abundance of tempting treats are coming along with it!

The question is, how do we maintain a healthy diet with all of the various holiday meals and desserts present in every direction we look?

The first tip I can offer you to make it through the holiday season maintaining a healthy diet is to be realistic. Do not create unrealistic or unattainable goals for yourself this winter. It is okay to treat yourself to some of your favorite seasonal meals and treats so long as you do so in moderation.

This leads me to my next tip; eat to satisfaction. Eating slowly and savoring the delicious foods that fill your plate will help you to avoid overindulgence.

Keep a regular eating schedule. Continue to eat all of your meals throughout the day; avoid skipping meals in order to indulge in large holiday meals. This also helps to avoid overindulgence.

Be cognizant of the beverages you consume this winter. The holidays is a time of celebration and parties equip with alcoholic or sugary, calorie-filled drinks. Sometimes we do not think about calories consumed from beverages, keep this in mind.

Make time for exercise. During the holidays it is easy to stay in doors with your family to catch up and spend time together. However, there are many fun activities you can participate in as a family that will double as exercise. Perhaps you can take a walk with some family members to see holiday decorations or go iceskating.

Cook with your health in mind. Creating healthy holiday meals will make it that much easier to avoid the high calorie foods. has offered some great healthy cooking tips, shared below.

  • Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup.
  • Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  • Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
  • Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chucks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
  • Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  • Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soy-milk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
  • Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.

You may feel that you are making sacrifices by following these tips this season, but really you are just practicing healthy eating habits! These tips can help you to maintain a healthy weight throughout the year. Making it through the holidays healthy and happy is achievable!

Happy Holidays!

Written by Jordan Williams
HOPE & Wellness Center Peer Educator 


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