Health Break | Published November 22, 2010

How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays

Holidays are known for bringing family together, celebrating with traditions and, of course, eating lots of food – delicious, filling, not-so-healthy yet oh-so-good food. The last thing you want to do is miss out on the scrumptious treats of the holidays, but you do not want to pack on the holiday pounds. Here are some tips to eating healthier during the holidays:

Indulge in the Healthier Traditional Holiday Foods
• Do not let yourself go hungry, because you will end up eating too much. Instead, fill up on the healthier holiday foods offered. Drink nonalcoholic drinks and do not skip the salad and fruit areas of the spread. These will help curb your hunger without overindulging on the unhealthy foods.

Substitute Healthier Ingredients in Traditional Holiday Recipes
• You can still eat your favorite holiday fare while avoiding the high calories. Substitute the high-fat, high-calorie ingredients with healthier ones. Some examples include:
o Low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk
o In some recipes, you can substitute applesauce for oil
o Egg whites instead of a whole egg
o Low-fat plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream instead of regular sour cream
o Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
o Low-fat eggnog instead of the full-fat version
o Two tablespoons flour whisked into two cups nonfat milk instead of heavy cream.

Ways to Ensure You Will Not Overeat
• Do not go to the holiday party hungry. When you are hungry, you tend to eat a larger quantity of food in a shorter amount of time than normal. Some people think that fasting prior to a meal will help you decrease your daily caloric intake. However, you will likely eat more at the party since you are hungry. Make sure you have a wholesome breakfast and lunch.

• Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Water helps you feel full and helps cut down on your calorie intake.

Ways to Fit Exercise Into the Busy Holiday Season
• When doing your holiday shopping, park farther away from the stores to increase the number of steps you take. However, make sure you stay alert to your surroundings and park in lighted areas. In addition, take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators.

• Instead of paying the neighborhood kids to shovel your snow, do it yourself! You will burn about 225 calories for every 30 minutes of shoveling.

• After dinner, take brisk walks with family members. It’s a nice activity to do with the family, and it gives you a chance to enjoy the season and check out the neighbors’ holiday decorations.