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Happy, healthy holidays!

Posted 9/2/2015

The holidays are upon us! It’s a time to remember the importance of spending time with family and friends. It’s also a time of holiday traditions. Many of our holiday and family traditions center on food and drink. Every party offers an enticing array of appetizers, cookies and desserts, and eggnog. With all the preparations and hectic schedules, sometimes people eat on the run or skip meals altogether. Holiday parties and hectic schedules make it difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle; but if you use the tips below, you may find that healthy choices can fit comfortably into any holiday celebration.

  • Have a positive attitude. Treat yourself with foods that make you feel and look good.
  • Take a walk. Exercise helps reduce stress, decrease appetite, increase energy and control weight.
  • Practice saying “no.” You do not have to eat every food offered to you. Politely, but firmly, decline it.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. If there is a special holiday treat that you just live for, eat it! Use moderation in portions and save some for tomorrow.
  • When planning parties and meals try to incorporate some of the ideas below.

Beverages: Try fruit juice punches mixed with club soda. Substitute skim or low-fat milk for whole milk in recipes.

Appetizers: Try mini-kebobs of fruit chunks stuck on a toothpick. Substitute low-fat tortilla chips with salsa for potato chips and dip. Serve fresh vegetables with yogurt dips, or use low-fat sour cream or fat-free salad dressings.

Entrees: Try more broiling, grilling, and steaming instead of pan frying or adding heavy sauces. Eat more fish and shellfish. Choose leaner cuts of meat and trim fat before cooking.

Side Dishes: Add extra flavor to vegetables with herbs and seasonings instead of adding butter and sauces. Microwave, steam, or stir-fry vegetables to preserve crispness, flavor, and vitamins and minerals.

Desserts: When baking, try substituting two egg whites for one whole egg in recipes. Try sundaes made with low-fat frozen yogurt or ice milk and topped with fresh, canned, or frozen fruits. Some recipes can use applesauce or prune puree in place of the fat. Use equal amounts of the sauce for the fat (butter, oil). Top angel food cake with fresh fruit slices. Make whipped topping using chilled, evaporated skim milk.

Email or call Susan Lednicky, Nutritionist with Clark County Cooperative Extension, at 702-257-5548.

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