Family gathering around the dinner table

Happy Holidays: Eat, Drink, and Stay Healthy

This is the great time of the year when friends and families get together to celebrate the holidays. The downside is that all these fun gatherings can turn into extra calories and less time to exercise – but that doesn’t mean skipping the festivities. 

Here are some tips on how to enjoy the season without letting a good health suffer.

 Going Easy On . . . 

  • Sugar: Apple cider and eggnog? These beverages often contain a ton of sugar –
    especially when alcohol is added. It’s okay to enjoy these in moderation, making sure to have a glass of water in between every drink.
  • Dairy: It’s not a party if there’s no dessert. But the key to maintaining healthy is  keeping the servings small and not going back for seconds. Skipping the whipped cream or ice cream, which often accompany the slice of pie, also helps.  
  • Red Meat: Opting for lean cuts or skipping it entirely, and sticking with fish or skinless chicken, are great options. So is eating twice as many vegetables as meat. Also, baking, grilling, or steaming food are healthier options than frying.  
  • Saturated Fat: Moderation is key. A quick example – for any dish – is cutting down on the butter. In general, using olive oil instead of butter adds some healthy unsaturated fats to the food. For flavor, fresh herbs and spices are good alternatives. For baking, Greek yogurt, banana, or equal parts unsweetened applesauce can substitute butter. 

Being realistic is also important. Here’s a morsel of advice to keep in mind:

  • Trying to maintain the current weight is better than worrying about shedding a few pounds over the holidays.  
  • A full calendar shouldn’t get in the way of exercise. Walking for 10-15 minutes, twice a day, helps maintaining good health through the season. 
  • Arriving at a party too hungry is a bad idea. So when going to a celebration, it’s important to make healthier choices the rest of the day. 
  • The key is eating to get satisfied – not stuffed. After eating, and giving it some time to settle, going back for seconds is okay. 
  • Bringing an appetizer, a main dish,  or dessert to the celebration can help keeping control of the situation. Healthier recipes for traditional favorites is just an Internet search away.