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‘Tis the season for celebrating with family and friends — and food. There is no substitute for getting together with the important people in your life. But there are substitutes for some of the less healthy holiday foods.
Making healthy food swaps can be easy, and focusing on family instead of food will make your celebrations even better.
Simple Healthier ChoicesIt is easy to eat too much during the holidays. But a few simple tricks can help. Keep these tips in mind:
Snack SwapsCookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger points to three changes that can make your holiday nibbles healthier:
MealtimeChances to make healthier food choices are all around. You can make changes in how you cook holiday favorites. And you can make better selections from the buffet table. Try these tips from choosemyplate.gov:
If you’re open to trying some new, healthier recipes, one good source is the American Diabetes Association. The recipe center offers healthy eating ideas for everyone, not just those with high blood sugar.
Focus on People and Activities Shifting your focus away from food and making your celebrations more about other people is a great way to stay healthier over the holidays.
Celebrate by giving to others. Consider donating foods or helping to make meals for those in need. Check with your local food bank or homeless shelter for ways to help.
At parties or big meals, don’t just stand by the food table talking to whoever comes by. Socialize away from food. Make a point of going around and visiting with everyone. Go to another room and play board games.
Gathering friends and family for activities is a fun way to socialize and add some exercise to your holidays. After a big meal, lead your friends and family on a walk. Get everyone up and dancing at a party. Play games that get you moving, like charades. Or go outside and play tag or touch football. Get more fun holiday activity ideas from Verywell Family.
Make new traditions.Trying new recipes and new ways of making old ones, focusing on people, and enjoying group activities can make your holidays healthier, more meaningful and more fun. Maybe the healthy changes will even become new traditions.
Adding some new recipes to the mix can be a fun way to help you stay healthier. Try these tasty holiday recipes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Sources: Healthy Holiday Swaps, EllieKrieger.com; 10 Tips: Make Healthier Holiday Choices, choosemyplate.gov, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2016; All Recipes, American Diabetes Association; Tips for Eating Healthy During the Holidays, American Academy of Family Physicians, 2017; Festive Holiday Party Games to Get the Family Moving, Verywell Family, 2019; Healthy, Thrifty Holiday Meals, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S. Department of Agriculture
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