Insider’s Viewpoint: Making Health the New Holiday Tradition

We all love the holidays. It’s a special time of year to create traditions and make memories. Many traditions often include office parties or family gatherings that offer a vast array of delicious appetizers and decadent desserts. These gatherings provide opportunities to add a few extra pounds to your waistline, and the challenge many of us face is that when the Christmas tree comes down, the scale often stays up. Here are some tips as you make health a new holiday tradition.

4 Ways to Make Health the New Holiday Tradition

  1. Survey the Offerings. Holiday buffets provide a wide assortment of goodies. Take a look at all the items and select only the foods you really want, making just one trip to the buffet table. Choose low-calorie foods to eat first, such as fruit slices, raw or steamed vegetables, and leafy green salads. We often eat more of the foods we choose to consume first.
  2. Less is More. Eat smaller portions by using a salad plate or smaller bowl. Serve bite-size treats or appetizers. Save your extra calories for a special holiday treat you only eat once per year, such as Grandma’s homemade fudge.
  3. Reinvent Holiday Favorites.
    • Sweet potatoes – flavor with apple juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
    • Mashed potatoes – whip with skim milk and roasted garlic. Or try substituting with mashed cauliflower.
    • Stuffing – oven bake with sautéed onions and celery.
    • Green beans – skip the casserole. Enjoy fresh steamed green beans, topped with slivered almonds.
  4. Bring a Dish to Share. For the office parties, bring a fresh fruit or fresh-cut vegetable tray. Or prepare a homemade trail mix using whole-wheat cereal, dried fruit, pretzel sticks and nuts.

Tip: Try the French Onion Dip recipe below as a tasty option to pair with a vegetable tray during your next holiday get-together.


French Onion Dip
Serves 10 (about 1/4 cup each).

All you need

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (14 oz) can reduced-sodium beef broth or 1 3/4 cups mushroom broth
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt

All you do

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Add broth, scrape up any browned bits, and simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated, 10 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Stir in onion powder, then stir in vinegar and cook until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine sour cream and yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir in the onion mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate the onion mixture (Step 1) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Cover and refrigerate the dip for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 82 calories, 5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 203mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g sugar, 3g protein.

Source: Adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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