10 Tips to Make Healthier Holiday Choices

Melissa M. Williford, RD, LMNT is an Outpatient Clinical Dietitian at SVMC’s Community Wellness Center (CWC). She helps patients prevent and reduce health problems and create or maintain a healthy lifestyle through personalized nutritional goals, meal planning, diabetes education and other services. She has some quick tips to help us make healthier holiday choices through the winter.

1. The Plate Method Makeover: Fill half your plate with veggies, one quarter with lean protein, and one quarter with starches (potatoes, bread, corn, sweets, stuffing, rice).

2. Be a Sampler: At parties take only a dollop of each food to give it a taste instead of filling your plate.

3. Choose Low Fat: Choose low-fat options where possible to save on calories; this includes lean protein. Go easy on sauces and gravies – they are meant to be dressings, not drownings!

4. Mix it Up: Holiday beverages are loaded with sugar. Try these switches:

  • Alternate each glass of alcohol with a glass of water
  • Make hot chocolate with skim or low-fat milk and skip the whipped cream
  • When drinking eggnog, fill half your glass with skim milk and mix with eggnog; again, skip the whipped topping
  • Use sugar-free cider mix and low-sugar apple juice

5. Tweak the Sweet: Try baked apples with cinnamon & a sprinkle of stevia instead of apple pie. Invite guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit & low-fat Greek yogurt.

6. Be the Life of the Party: Enjoy the company of others by laughing, mingling, dancing, playing games. Stand far from the food table during the party.

7. Holiday Physical Activity is Fun! Have fun walking, ice skating, skiing, doing a Christmas 5K, or start a new physical activity program to keep fit!

8. Give to Others: Spend your time volunteering at your local food bank or a shelter. Others need you to provide & prepare food more than you need to eat it.

9. Focus on Family & Fun: Remember, the holidays are about friends & family, not food, so focus on your time with others instead of stuffing yourself.

10. Offer to Help/Come Prepared: Offer to bring something so you know there is at least one healthy item to choose from. Don’t arrive at a party without eating all day! Choose more healthful options with only a taste of the fried, buttered, cheesy, or creamy items.

To learn more about the services offered at the CWC through the Nutritional Education & Physical Activity Program, visit sierra-view.com/communitywellness.