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holidayfoodBy Tracey Munson and Meaghan Sutherland

The holiday season is on our doorstep, accompanied by an endless supply of gravy, fudge, gingerbread, and figgy pudding (okay, maybe not that last one).  While enjoying some of these foods is something we look forward to every year, it’s important to remember to balance it out with healthier favorites too! Here are some tips for a healthy holiday season:

  1. Don’t use resolutions to justify overindulging. Thinking of going sugar-free in January? Don’t use that as a reason to overeat sweets now. “Stocking up” in advance won’t help you in the long run, and could pack on the pounds.
  2. Look at your plate: Fill half your plate with mostly vegetables and some fruit! The extra fiber will help you feel full longer.
  3. Check out the buffet table. Before filling your plate, take a look at all the foods being offered. Choose your “must have” and “favorite” foods while also including fruits and veggies. If you see something else you’d like to try, start by having just a taste! Perhaps save a portion for the next day.
  4. Don’t make food the only focus. Although food is a great way to bring people together, the holidays are also about enjoying time with family and friends. Try planning some non-food activities to do together such as sledding, making holiday decorations, or going through photo albums.
  5. Enjoy a variety of foods, not just ones high in fat or sugar. With all the opportunities you’ll have to eat, make sure you’re choosing a variety of foods. Healthier fruits and vegetables can deliciously grace your holiday table. Here are some veggie-filled holiday recipes:
  1. Make healthy substitutions. This is an easy way to make your favorite holiday dish healthier. This infographic is full of great substitutions.
  2. Eat Mindfully. Mindfulness is the idea of being completely present with yourself and your surroundings. Before hitting the dessert table, check in with yourself. How hungry are you? Do you feel energized or are you tired? Will this food fulfill what your body needs right now?

This holiday season fill yourself with love instead of leftovers, expand your memories instead of your waistline, surrender to connecting instead of cravings, and may your days be merry and light!

Tracey Munson is a dietetic intern at Simmons College.

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Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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