Have A Healthy Holiday Celebration

Be of good cheer.   You don’t have to stick to nonfat eggnog, carrot sticks and sugar-free sugar plums as you munch your way through the holidays. Go ahead and indulge in a few favorites.  The key is to use some restraint.  You can cut back on calories without cutting back on the fun.  Here are five ways to enjoy holiday treats without depriving your family or yourself:

1. Prepare for parties - Parties are a big part of the holidays.  There is a lot of excitement and plenty of temptations on the table.  Whether it’s a family gathering, a neighborhood party or a special event, talk with your family about ways to manage their eating.  Explain what is and isn’t good for your children, and talk about portion control.  This may prevent a belly ache from ruining the fun.  Try having a healthy snack before leaving for the party so that you don’t arrive hungry.  An empty stomach and a full holiday table are a sure recipe for overeating.

2. Be a healthy role model - It’s hard to limit sweet treats for your children if they see you hanging around the dessert table.  Lead by example, and eat in moderation so that your children will do the same.

3. Make wise choices - Holiday parties usually feature a table full of  indulgent foods and desserts.  The temptation can be overwhelming for anyone.  Now is the time to give your children a little freedom, with a lot of guidance.  Let them chose the one treat they like the most.  Or, put a small taste of several items on one plate.  If your child is full, offer to take a dessert home to eat later.

4. Focus on fun, not food - Food has always been a large part of holiday celebrations and always will be.  However, those parties don’t have to focus on cookies, cakes and candy.  Make sure that your celebrations include activities that don’t involve food or sugary items.  Enjoy party games or make holiday crafts.  You can also teach the kids how to enjoy healthier holiday foods by letting them help you in the kitchen.  If they help prepare healthier food, they will be more interested in eating healthier food.   

5. Make your own treats - Holiday treats are not limited to sugar-filled food.  You can make your own sweet treats that are lower in sugar.  These recipes are a little healthier and easy for the whole family to make:

  • Festive Trail Mix: Combine frosted mini-shredded wheat cereal with multi-grain toasted oat cereal, dried cranberries, raisins and nuts (peanuts, cashews or other nuts).  Mix in red and green M&M Minis or dark chocolate mini-chips.
  • Reindeer Faces: Spread round, whole wheat crackers with natural peanut butter or an alternative nut butter.  Add two raisins for the eyes and a dried cranberry or red M&M Mini for the nose.  Break a tiny pretzel twist in half to make the antlers.
  • Fruit Kabobs: Cut a variety of fresh fruit into bite-sized pieces and place them on skewers.  Dip them in low-fat strawberry yogurt for added flavor.

Source: The Cleveland Clinic

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