40 Ridiculously Easy Tips for a Healthier Holiday

It never fails. No matter what I do to stay strong through the magic of Halloween, I find myself eating half a bag of candy corn, sneaking candy from my little relatives and family friends (and digging into my own personal stash of Halloween that I selflessly decided to keep rather than distribute and contribute to the poor health of the neighborhood children).

So, I’ve made it my mission this Holiday season to not find myself in this situation again. In reality though, I’m not giving up turkey, mashed potatoes, or other holiday favorites. Instead, I’m going to follow some of these healthy holiday tips. Incorporate a few of these into your Holiday routine and find yourself that much healthier.

  1. Cut out some sugar in your desserts by replacing half the sugar in the recipe with citrus, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey, or molasses.
  2. Use fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit instead of slathering on a layer of frosting.
  3. Other dessert toppings (instead of thick frosting) include powdered sugar, cinnamon, or cocoa.
  4. Fruit for dessert is a wonderful thing. Try baked apples, fruit tarts, fruit pizza (so fun), or pumpkin tofu pie.
  5. Use condensed skim milk instead of full fat condensed milk when preparing holiday drinks, desserts, and fudge.
  6. Lower the fat by switching out oil for fruit purees (like unsweetened applesauce) in cake, brownie, bread, and muffin mixes
  7. Making a classic fruit cake? Try substituting ground flaxseed for ¼ to ⅓ of the butter for a healthier spin.
  8. When serving dessert, cut the dish into small bars, or use small cookie cutters to make smaller serving sizes.
  9. Get a dessert buddy to split and sample with! Try more desserts without feeling guilty for not eating the entire slice of pie.
  10. Instead of adding chocolate chips or candy to cakes and cookies, use dried fruit, like cranberries, cherries, or raisins.
  11. Replace some of the whole eggs in recipes with egg whites. 1 egg =  about 2 egg whites.
  12. As a general rule, use fat-free, low sodium broth when cooking.  
  13. Reduce sodium levels in your dishes by substituting fresh herbs and flavored vinegars for salt in soups and entrées.
  14. Use low-fat or nonfat sour cream or yogurt for your dips.
  15. Add raisins, dried cranberries, or pretzel sticks to your nut mix for more variety.
  16. Remove skin from poultry before cooking, or avoid eating it if you’re not the one preparing the food.
  17. Marinate meat, poultry, or fish  in fruit juice, wine, or low fat sauce.
  18. Rub dried herb and spice mixtures onto surface of meat, poultry, or fish for added flavor.
  19. Try pineapple or mango salsa as a ‘replacement’ for gravy by putting it on the side of or on top of your meat dish to enhance flavor.
  20. Eat sweet potatoes over candied yams.
  21. Use whole grain bread, quinoa, wild or brown rice for stuffing rather than white bread, and add cranberries, other dried fruits and nuts.
  22. Use a zip lock bag or fat separator to get the pan juices from the meat, but eliminate the layer of fat before making gravy.
  23. Choose white meat over dark meat when eating turkey.  
  24. If you’re drinking over the holidays, try dry wine, Bloody Marys, or spirits with sparkling or flavored water instead of craft beers and egg nog.
  25. On the same line, when choosing Holiday drinks, homemade hard apple cider is often a healthier choice than eggnog.
  26. Drink water between alcoholic beverages.
  27. Politely decline to bring home leftovers from holiday parties.
  28. When attending a holiday party, offer to bring a healthy dish such as a plate of  veggies and a low fat dip.
  29. Be careful while snacking. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re eating while you mingle.
  30. Don’t let exercise take a back seat this season. Include physical activity as part of your holiday plans. Plan an ice-skating day or go for walks with the family to look at holiday decorations after big meals.
  31. Play with the kids! They’re sure to keep you on your feet and moving around.  
  32. Eat a light, healthy but filling snack before arriving at a holiday party to avoid over eating.
  33. Don’t skip meals to prepare for feasts! Stick to your usual meal plan to avoid binge eating.
  34. You’re bound to have leftovers of your own. Freeze leftovers in portion size containers so you can eat the right amount once the holidays are over
  35. Check out all the food options when you arrive at party so you choose wise options. Don’t just go for the first thing you see, choose the healthy options!
  36. Spend time socializing and conversing! The holidays are about more than just good food.
  37. Try a sugar free mint when you’re done. The fresh palate feeling may curb you from additional snacking.
  38. Use smaller plates to avoid taking too much on your plate.
  39. Sit next to a fellow healthy eater. In this case of healthy eating, peer pressure can be a good thing.
  40. Avoid prepackaged stuffing, apple cider, premixed drinks, etc.

Download Nutrino to get meal recommendations that will you keep you on the healthy track this holiday season. And if you have your own healthy tips, leave them in the comments!


References: Get more tips from The Mayo Clinic, Health Castle, and UCLA.