Tips to Make Your Holiday Celebration Healthier
The cascade of holidays at the end of the year sometimes make it hard to finish the year on a healthy note, with so many parties, celebrations and delicious food. If you make it through Thanksgiving without an extra pound or two, that’s a good start. But the month or so that follows can test your willpower and your waistline.
The annual holiday-palooza starts Dec. 22, with the first day of Hanukkah, and ends Jan. 1 on New Year’s Day. In between is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. They feature gatherings with food, drinks and delectable desserts. But there are ways to celebrate in style without compromising your weight or health.
Holiday party season can be particularly hard if you have diabetes, so we have some tips for you, as well.
Two great places to find general nutrition advice if you buy individual or family health plans on your own is through the Better You Strides program and at your local Florida Blue Center. (Find your neighborhood center here.) But here are some other tips to stay on track during the holidays.
If you’re hosting a holiday gathering
Here are some suggestions on making healthier holiday choices when you’re hosting an event, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can find more here.
- Make traditional holiday foods a little healthier by using lower-calorie substitutes for some ingredients or changing up the menu to make sure there are healthy options like baked chicken and vegetables. Visit choosemyplate.gov for suggestions.
- Serve lean protein choices like turkey, beans and certain fish, like cod. Always trim the fats when cooking meat.
- Look for ingredients you can swap out for lower-calorie options, such as using unsweetened applesauce instead of butter. And if a recipe calls for sugar, try cutting the amount in half.
- Dessert doesn’t have to be a triple-layer chocolate cake (although that sounds delicious). Think about serving up baked apples with cinnamon instead of apple pie.
- Find creative ways to use your leftovers. Leftover vegetables can spruce up omelets or stews, while turkey is a great addition to soups and salads.
Ways for people with diabetes to stay on track during holidays
If you or someone you know has diabetes, here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for holiday celebrations.
- Eat at your regular times to make sure your blood sugar remains steady. If dinner at a party is served late, grab a snack at the time you would normally eat supper. If you’re invited to a party, take a healthy dish. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip a little but be sure to return to your healthy habits at the next meal.
- As long as your doctor agrees, it’s OK to treat yourself. If you don’t want to pass up dessert, choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie to save calories and sugar.
- All the holiday fun can distract you from your routines, so remember to maintain healthy exercise and sleep habits.
Looking for more tips? Click here to read more from the CDC.