Lighten up: Yummy, healthier holiday foods | Health & Fitness

Pick healthier options at the buffet table: Pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie, sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, cinnamon tea instead of hot chocolate.

Keep healthy options on hand. It is easy to grab cookies and other sweets when they are constantly and easily available. Have cut up carrots and other vegetables readily available in the refrigerator and keep a bowl of bananas or cuties set out where you can see them. If you are going to a party or potluck, bring a healthy and nutritious side dish.

Incorporate vegetables into your meals. Serve salads or vegetable dishes before and during meals. Have a couple options available. Add a variety of color with yellow or red peppers. Think about roasted asparagus or green beans instead of green bean casserole; or roasted carrots or sweet potatoes that aren’t covered in sugar or marshmallows.

Have a meatless meal once a week. Meat does not have to be the main feature of every meal. Instead, use legumes (beans, lentils, dried peas), eggs, tofu, peanut butter or canned fish. These options have less saturated fat and can be an easy, low-cost alternative.

Everything in moderation. You don’t have to deny yourself all of the yummy holiday foods. Instead, choose the couple things you will splurge on that you may only get during the holidays.

Don’t skip meals to “save” calories. It will backfire and you will end up hungrier, leading to overeating. Small snacks during the day and three medium meals versus large meals will help with digestion and decrease the overall amount you eat. For the meals surrounding a “feast” keep them light and nutrient dense. Maybe a light lunch salad or a light breakfast of avocado toast. Using a smaller plate can also help with portion control. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.

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