Have a Healthier Holiday

If you think having a happy holiday means bumping up a dress size, think again. We talked to registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward about ways to be merry while still being mindful of your health in the upcoming weeks. Here are her tips.

  • Make swaps in recipes to help cut fat and calories. Ward replaces half of the oil her recipes call for with apple sauce, and says that any pureed fruit (even baby food!) can work for that substitution. You can also reduce the amount of sugar in baked goods by a few tablespoons without changing the taste drastically.
  • Never go to a party famished, or you could make bad buffet decisions. Before you head out, eat a snack that contains protein and complex carbs, like a boiled egg and whole wheat crackers or yogurt and a slice of toast.
  • But at the party, don’t drive yourself crazy about what you can and can’t eat. “After all, we don’t have egg nog and gingerbread cookies around all year!” says Ward. Just be conscious of your portion sizes. (Find out what a smart portion size looks like here–it’s a great guide to stick to the fridge.) And just because something is delicious doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. Holiday faves like nuts, cranberries, sweet potatoes, chocolate, even that egg nog all have healthful properties.
  • Another thing not to beat yourself up about? Slacking off on your exercise routine. “The holidays are really hectic, so I don’t get to work out as often or as hard as I usually do,” says Ward. ” But then I notice myself running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and I have to remember that climbing up and down those stairs ten times is activity, and all activity counts.” Wondering how much time you spent moving between power shopping through the mall, taking the kids caroling and helping hoist the tree from the farm to the car to the house? Check out the Activity Snack app from Hershey’s Moderation Nation, which helps you track those small bursts of exercise.

Share your tips for healthy ways to enjoy the holidays!

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