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Health

Tips for delicious, healthy holiday
'Tis the season to eat, drink and be healthy
 
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013
by Family Features

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PHOTO/MICROSOFT IMAGES
It's possible to enjoy your favorite holiday dishes without overindulging. If you're watching your waisteline, limit your alcohol intake to no more than two glasses of wine and drink plenty of water.

It's tempting to overindulge during the holidays and postpone thoughts of healthy eating until the New Year. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to enjoy savory holiday dishes without damaging your waistline. Looking to keep the weight gain to a minimum in the month ahead? Consider employing these simple tips during your next holiday party:

Keep snacks on hand. Colleagues often bring in tempting treats to share during the holidays. Plan ahead and bring healthy snacks to help you curb your cravings. Appetizers and salads are a great way to curb overeating. Guests who nibble on fresh, light fare are less likely to stuff themselves with more fattening dishes at mealtime.

Start an "active" tradition. Introduce a new activity that helps keep the family active between festive meals. Invite loved ones to take a walk, go sledding or ice skating as a fun way to burn calories while you bond.

Master the buffet. Prepare ahead with an online search for tips on what to gravitate towards at restaurants and holiday buffets. Websites like Atkins.com and WeightWatchers.com have some good tips. If you are watching your intake of carbs, stick to lean protein dishes like roast turkey, ham and salmon and pair with tossed salads and roasted vegetables. At sit-down meals, don't feel like you have to consume every dish. If your hostess insists, take a small portion to taste and compliment his or her dish.

Limit your booze. Lots of people like to toast the holidays with cocktails. A great way to curb caloric intake is to limit yourself to two glasses of wine or one glass of spirits and drink plenty of water as well. When drinking spirits, limit the calorie-laden mixers. It's a good idea to mix with water or a sugar-free mixer like club soda. Garnish with plenty of lemon or lime for added flavor.

Play hostess: The best way to ensure you stick to eating healthy food options during the holiday season is to create the menu yourself. Select a healthy main course to build your menu around, pair it with seasonal winter vegetables and suggest guests bring a small side of their own to cater to different tastes. Be considerate of other guests' food sensitivities and develop an easy menu with delicious options.

Make simple ingredient swaps. Add nutritional value to festive recipes by using healthier versions of traditional ingredients. For stuffing, casseroles and toasted sandwiches, replace white bread with whole grain bread. Cooking with whole grains can add taste, texture and fiber to your favorite dishes. 

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