Click here for this year's healthy holiday recipes!

The holiday season is known for family, food, and fun. However if you are trying to stick to your healthy eating goals, the holidays can be a real challenge. Americans can gain up to 2 pounds over the holiday season.  This doesn't sound like a lot, but over the years those pounds can accumulate and become difficult to shed. Try these tips for healthy holiday eating and to help you stay on the healthy holiday track:

  • Exercise more!  Find ways in your everyday life to burn excess calories.  Take the stairs, walk around malls while doing your holiday shopping.  After a big dinner, bundle up the family and walk around looking at holiday decorations or go ice skating to work off those extra holiday calories.  Many local gyms and fitness centers have holiday hours, check around to see if you can squeeze a small work out in before any big parties or meals.
  • Don't skip meals!  Starting your day off with a healthy breakfast can help prevent over indulging later. 
  • Practice portion control! Skip that second serving of dinner and save those calories for a small dessert.  Even using a smaller plate can help control portions and avoid over eating.
  • Eat slowly! Take your time with a meal.  Talk and enjoy everyone at dinner as well as the food.  Wait ten minutes before filling your plate with seconds.
  • Avoid alcohol or limit intake!  Alcoholic beverages are loaded with empty calories.  They also inhibit your ability to say no to snacks, even if you're not hungry.  Consider cocktails made with mixers like seltzer or diet soda, and sweeten drinks with fresh fruit instead of sugar.  Keep portions small to control calories.
  • Look for healthy alternative recipes! Try replacing one dish with a new, healthy alternative.  You can cut calories by swapping low fat milk for whole milk or cream, Greek yogurt for butter, or egg whites for whole eggs.   Visit our Recipes page to find healthy recipes suitable for the holiday season.
  • Try different family activities!  Start a new holiday tradition that doesn't involve food.  Try making cards, caroling, or reading a holiday story as a family.
  • Know the best options!  At parties, fill up on healthy items like steamed shrimp, crudite, fruit, and whole grain crackers.  Limit your intake of cocktail sausages, cheese, and sweets. 
  • Don't beat yourself up over one day of over eating! If you over eat, don't let it discourage you from your healthy habits, start the next day off right! It's never too late to make your next choice a healthier one.
  • Don't miss out on fun! The holidays are about spending time with loved ones. They don't have to be about one big, calorie-filled meal.  Make the holidays about the important people in your life and less about the food. Make sure you visit everyone at the party before you hit the buffet.

For more healthy holiday recipes and tips check out the links below. 

Eat Well Holiday Recipes

Mayo Clinic Holiday Recipes

Ten Tips to Eat Smart This Holiday Season