How to Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season

We’re entering into the busy holiday season–which for many of us, might include making less healthy food and beverage choices. From Halloween through Valentine’s Day, fatty foods and indulgences seem to meet us at every gathering, grocery trip and everywhere in-between. Yet, these months do not need to derail a healthy diet. With appropriate strategies in place, you can meet your health goals while still enjoying the holidays.

1. Choose your splurges.

Holiday celebrations include many special foods and beverages that we want to enjoy. A healthy diet includes some of those–but not all. Choose which less-than-healthy foods are worth having, and which are not. Maybe you choose to have a piece of your favorite pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but you forego the store-bought ice cream on top. Or on Christmas morning, you choose to have either sausage or bacon, but not both.

2. Make recipe substitutions.

Sometimes, the solution is to make a “splurge” food a little healthier. Instead of sour cream in many recipes, you can use Greek yogurt. Instead of all-purpose flour in rolls, try replacing half of the flour with whole-wheat. For more recipe substitution ideas, you can visit here.

3. Choose nutrient-dense festive foods.

Not every traditional holiday dish is unhealthy. Foods such as lean turkey at Thanksgiving, oranges on Christmas morning and vegetable trays at New Year’s all include healthy nutrients. Even if your traditional foods aren’t nutrient-dense, you can make new traditions. Make a Christmas tree out of broccoli florets, decorated with cherry tomatoes for a crudité plate. Make a lean, veggie-laden chili for the Super Bowl, and give your sweetheart strawberries on Valentine’s Day rather than an extra-large box of chocolates.

4. Be aware of beverages.

Along with special foods at holidays, we often indulge in special beverages, as well. Don’t forget that drinks such as hot cocoa, apple cider, eggnog and alcohol all contain calories, added sugars, saturated fats and/or other nutrients that should be consumed in moderation. Make sure to fit these splurges into your health plan, as well.

For additional help meeting your health goals during the holidays and into the new year, make an appointment with one of our Certified Health and Wellness Coaches on campus by calling 317-718-8160.