Home Healthy Recipes Food, recipe swaps and eating and drinking tips for holiday parties

Food, recipe swaps and eating and drinking tips for holiday parties

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Every holiday season, we vow that this will be the year that we don’t throw out every healthy habit we’ve cultivated. Then we’re faced with busy days, boozy parties and indulgent meals featuring all our favorite seasonal foods. Before we know it, we’ve fallen into a familiar, far less healthy cycle of too much sugar, sodium and stress. 

Believe it or not, a balance between totally indulging and absolutely abstaining from the seasonal foods and drinks you love is possible. It takes advanced planning, says Beth McCall, a certified specialist in sports dietetics based in Durham, N.C., but she insists that none of us has to let the holiday season derail our healthy habits. 

“I use the idea of fueling your body, whether you’re an athlete or not,” McCall says. No matter what your daily activity level looks like, the best approach to healthy eating is to continue fueling with nutritious foods consistently throughout the day. Of course, how you do that might differ from one day to the next, so McCall shared her tips for staying on track no matter what your schedule throws at you.

Healthy Home Habits

First, you need to have the right foods on hand, and that starts with your cart. To shop smart, stick mostly to the perimeter of the grocery store where you’ll find produce, meats and dairy. “That’s the answer, really — building a plate full of healthy, wholesome, whole foods,” McCall says. 

To shop smart, stick mostly to the perimeter of the grocery
store where you’ll find produce, meats and dairy.

After you’ve brought home your groceries, there’s more work to be done. “A good tip, especially during the holiday season when you’re running around from one event to the next, is prepping or bulk batch cooking,” McCall says. Setting time aside one day a week to chop up your vegetables and prepare some of your lean proteins will make it easy for you to build a quick plate when you’re short on time.

Recipe Rehab

On days when you have the time and inclination to whip up one of your favorite holiday recipes, take a moment to consider whether you can make some healthy tweaks by swapping out an ingredient or two. McCall likes replacing sour cream with plain Greek yogurt, using an olive oil-based dressing rather than a creamy one in salads and, for baking, using applesauce or banana in place of oil. 



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