5 Tips to Lightening up the Holidays

by: Alyssa Reidhead USU Dietetics Student

Holiday Cheese Spread

Splurging over the holidays is common, almost expected! What would the holidays be without your favorite Christmas cookie, sweetbread, or fresh baked rolls? I wanted to provide a few tips to stay healthy over the holidays while fitting in those favorite treats.

  1. Try substituting. Many times oil can be halved or replaced with greek yogurt or applesauce in cakes, sweet breads, or pancakes.This will reduce the amount of fat (and overall calories) in the recipe. Greek yogurt also provides many important nutrients such as protein and calcium.
  2. Use lower-fat cheese or strong cheese. Try lower fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella or provolone. If you want the cheese flavor to stand out, use sharp cheese such a feta, bleu cheese, asiago, aged parmesan or sharp cheddar which have more flavor in less volume therefore reducing calories.
  3. Include fruits in your baked items and vegetables in the main course. For example, make an apple crisp for dessert or try shredding squash and adding it to your favorite pasta sauce. It will add extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your favorite recipes. This helps you stay full on few calories!
  4. Serve at least one vegetable side with each holiday meal. Green beans with parmesan and almonds happens to be one of my favorites. Cooking vegetables in a variety of ways keeps you wanting more. Try roasting, steaming, or sautéing.
  5. Get Moving! Ride bikes around the block with the family after a meal, play Frisbee, sign up for a holiday 5k, or walk around town to see the Christmas lights. Anything to get you moving will help to keep you healthy and feeling great.

Remember that the holiday season is focused around traditions and food. Depriving yourself of your favorite dishes and treats would be silly and unsatisfying. I hope these 5 tips will help keep you satisfied and healthy over the holidays. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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