A Healthy Holiday – Is it possible?


by Joan Bahr, MS RD CDE

We are in the midst of the holiday season. Is your healthy lifestyle surviving? The average person struggles with a holiday weight gain of up to 2 pounds (Per New England Journal of Medicine). The unfortunate part of this seasonal weight gain is that it isn’t likely to disappear with the holiday cheer. For most people, it’s here to stay.

Here are a few simple tips to “healthy” up your holiday season.

Start your day right

A healthy breakfast will provide energy for the day and help with the “no” word when high calorie – low nutrition treats are presented to you. Breakfast is linked to a lower BMI (body mass index), fewer calories throughout the day, and a better diet.

veggiesPlan your contribution

There are many fruit or vegetable recipes to provide nutritious, low calorie alternatives to all those sweets. Not only are they better choices, they will add a beautiful splash of color on the serving table! Try some fat-free yogurt dips to compliment the fruits and vegetables. A quick internet search will provide a myriad of recipes – or alter your favorite recipe by replacing sour cream or mayonnaise with fat-free Greek yogurt. Go forth and experiment!

Take the extra step

The holidays are indeed a very busy time with shopping, wrapping, parties, children’s programs, as well as the usual winter sporting events – and the list can go on… but to maintain your health try to boost your physical activity. Take that 10 minute walk outside, use the treadmill for 10-15 minutes, or integrate a simple activity in your daily schedule. Start small. Park farther away from the store or office. Walk to a friend’s house. Or when unpacking the groceries, do a few bicep curls with the carton of milk!

Keep it small

When attending holiday parties, remember more is not always better. Try to stick to smaller portions. During this time of year, there are going to be countless treats available that you just can’t get in the other eleven months. But just remember portions.  Have a small serving. Eat slowly, and enjoy the special treat. Prior to attending the party, have a small snack and/or maintain a healthy diet throughout the day to prevent a ravenous appetite. At the holiday event, concentrate on the people present – visit, catch-up, and meet new people.

nogRethink your drink

Holiday beverages can be very high in calories and fat. For example, 1 cup of eggnog comes with a whopping 344 Calories and 19 grams of fat! Consider alternating holiday beverages with water, choose lower calorie/fat beverages, or drink a sparkling water.

For more tips, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/recipes.html


Joan Bahr, MS RD CDE
Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator
Southwest Health (608) 342-5025
Epione Pavilion (608) 744-3966

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