Healthier holiday gatherings

Healthier holiday gatherings
By 810Kids! Staff

The holiday season is almost upon us. Thanksgiving is only weeks away soon to be followed by multiple holiday feasts at home, work, school and throughout the community.

All the good eats are tempting, but if you don’t want your “ho-ho” to become an “oh no” moderation is the key.

Crim Fitness Foundation’s Sarah Schroeder says there are many ways to enjoy the most flavorful time of the year and not overindulge.

“Help yourself to less than what you would normally take,” says Schroeder. “You can always go back for seconds. Also, practice mindful eating during your holiday dinners and  keep tablets, phones, TVs, and computers turned off and put away. Focus on being with family, what you’re eating, and the way the food is making you feel.

“You’re more likely to feel fuller faster when you’re eating slowly and paying attention.”

Also, salads are a smart idea. Leafy vegetables and other ingredients are nutritious and help fill the stomach. Schroeder recommends families visit “Try making the strawberry spinach salad or peas and rice. Both are great options for holiday side dishes,” she says.

Genesee Intermediate School District students will be sampling the strawberry spinach salad in their classrooms soon. Having them help make it for the holidays is a good way for them to tie in what they are learning at school with the whole family.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate site has some great suggestions that will keep holiday menus happy:

Create MyPlate makeovers
Makeover your favorite holiday dishes. Use My Recipe on SuperTracker to improve holiday recipes and get healthier results.

Enjoy all the food groups at your celebration
Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer; add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green-leaf salad; include fresh fruit at the dessert table; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday meal.

Make sure your protein is lean
Turkey; roast beef; fresh ham; beans; and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. Trim fat when cooking meats. Go easy on the sauces and gravies ― they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.

Cheers to good health
Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

Bake healthier
Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half. Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.

Tweak the sweet
For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie. Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

Be the life of the party
Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

Make exercise a part of the fun 
Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes, and reusable water bottles.

Enjoy leftovers
Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews. The possibilities are endless!

Give to others
Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

“The holidays are often filled with time-honored traditions that include some of our favorite meals and foods,” the site says. “As you celebrate, think of little changes you can make this holiday season to create healthier meals and active days.”







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