Maintaining healthy habits at holiday parties

You can go to the holiday party, enjoy the food you’ve been waiting for since last season – while being healthy.

Your holiday season may already be in full swing with shopping, baking and decorating. As we approach the upcoming holiday dates, holiday parties are taking place and the food temptation begins. Wonderful parties with family and friends with buffets full of great tasting holiday food can lead many to stray from healthy eating habits. Rich, high calories desserts, cakes, cookies and candy along with family recipes for casseroles, stuffing, sauces and gravies, can add extra calories to our usual diets. High calorie holiday foods can fit into a healthy diet with moderation as the key. Michigan State University Extension offers some tips to help you enjoy a healthy holiday this year:

When preparing foods for a holiday party or gathering try ingredient substitutions to save unnecessary calories and fat. For example:

  • Choose reduced fat or low-fat cheeses for meat and cheese trays or casseroles.
  • In desserts or pie toppings, use fat-free or light whipped topping.
  • In dips or sauces use fat-free yogurt, sour cream or cream cheese.
  • Substitute applesauce for oil, margarine or butter in muffins or breads.
  • Use low sodium broth or soups in gravies or side dishes.
  • Add lots of veggies for appetizers, snacks, in salads and casseroles.

At the holiday party:

  • Eat small, lower calorie meals (including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and proteins) throughout the day so you aren’t starving when you arrive for your party. Doing so, may cause you to over eat the higher calorie, fat foods.
  • Choose water and other low-calories beverages.
  • Make careful choices. Making sectional choices will allow you to really enjoy the foods you have been waiting all year to taste and help you skip other food items.
  • Enjoy your favorite foods, but do so in moderation. Most of us have a favorite holiday food we have been waiting to enjoy, and that food can fit into your diet by moderating your potions.
  • Enjoy your food and the company you are with. Move away from the buffet area and sit down together to enjoy your meal.

 The holiday season is a special time to gather with family and friends. Enjoy the season while making healthy food choices.

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