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Health Tip: Healthy Holiday Eating

By: Claude

This time of year, as the weather cools, we spend more time inside and start planning for the holidays, our healthy eating habits are often put to the side. Instead of ignoring our healthy eating habits during this time of year, we can adapt them to make the foods we love a little healthier. Patricia Hertz, dietitian with Cardiac Rehabilitation at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, shares with us ways to incorporate healthy eating during the holiday season.

During the holidays, we all want to eat our favorite not so healthy foods, how can we enjoy them while still eating healthy?

The key is moderation. You don’t have to stop eating the foods you love, but there are ways to enjoy them without overeating. Limit your portion sizes, avoid making enough for leftovers, drink water, include fruits and vegetables in your meals, eat breakfast and plan time to exercise during the day.

What are some holiday food swaps we can make?

Food swaps can help you enjoy the foods you love, but in a healthier way. This year, try:

· Roasted sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole.

· Fresh green beans instead of green bean casserole.

· Baked apples with cinnamon instead of apple pie.

· Whole grain bread instead of dinner rolls

· Swap milk or heavy cream with Greek yogurt in dishes.

· Use spiralized veggies instead of pasta.

How can I eat healthy when I know the party I’m going to is going to have limited healthy options?

We can’t control what others offer in their own home, but we can come prepared. By eating regular meals throughout the day, you won’t overeat, and it will keep your blood sugar at a regulated level. When you’re invited to a party, offer to bring a dish and make it healthy. This way you know you have at least one dish you know is good for you. In addition, once you have your plate, avoid going back for seconds and eat slow. When you fill your plate, take a little bit of everything you want to try and if you want seconds, cut back on the starch filled foods like potatoes and rolls.

Can I still have dessert?

Yes! You can still have dessert. The key is everything in moderation. If you deny yourself foods you want, you’ll crave them more and end up indulging when you finally allow yourself to have them. Instead, pass on the mashed potatoes if you want to have a slice of pie, or ask someone to split a piece with you. This way you’re limiting the amount you’re eating, but not depriving yourself.

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