A few tips for a happy and healthy holiday season!

Let’s face it, we’re in the middle of eating and shopping season. Some days, it seems like our main form of exercise is usually moving the fork from the plate to our mouths. Here are some ways to enjoy the spirit of the season and favorite holiday foods, while staying healthy, too.

Enjoy seasonal fruits.  Clementines, pomegranates, pineapples, mangoes, oranges, grapefruits and apples are wonderful this time of year.  Keep them on the counter or in the front of the fridge where you can see them!

Move the goodies out of sight:  One of the biggest challenges of the season is a see-food diet, otherwise known as “if I see it, I eat it”. We’re more likely to be tempted by what’s right in front of us. Put the candy dish in a cupboard and move the cookies where you won’t have a constant visual reminder.

Balance: if you are going to a holiday party in the evening, make an extra effort to eat well on other days.  Add in more vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, etc. and move more, too!  A piece of chocolate cake one day or one big holiday meal won’t make or break a diet, but treats every day will add up.

Savor your favorites:  Bottom line, you’re going to eat some treats this holiday season, so you might as well truly enjoy them.   Target things you enjoy most (i.e. no filling up on chips or every day foods) When you eat, really eat!   When we really taste our food (rather than inhaling something while talking and multitasking) food tastes much better, we’re more satisfied and full quicker.

Fill your table with fruit and veggie dishes: Have your holiday meals feature seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, collards or bean or veggie soups.  Make roasted chestnuts as a snack. Have a fruit inspired dessert, like baked apples, poached pears, sautéed bananas, etc.

Skip the alcohol, or limit it to a drink or two.   Not only does it have a lot of calories, but once you’ve had a few, it’s easier to indulge on other foods.

Get moving! Exercise is a great way to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and burn calories, too.  Head out at lunchtime for a short walk, check out the holiday lights in the evening, start a new family tradition and do something active at family events, dance at party functions, or make a habit of hitting the gym.  You don’t have to wait until January for healthy resolutions.

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