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‘Tis the Season for Sugar, Spice and Healthy Advice

While the holidays are full of family, friends and food, it doesn’t mean you have to wait until January to make healthy choices. This year don’t let large family meals and long days spent holiday shopping leave you feeling drained. Feel your best with these healthy food swaps and energizing activities. ‘Tis the Season for sugar, spice and healthy advice!

Holiday Food Swaps

  • Grilled or baked foods instead of fried. Whether you’re cooking or dining out, choose grilled foods that contain less saturated fat. If you prefer the crunch of fried foods, try using a recipe that uses the oven or an air fryer.
  • Fresh veggies instead of casseroles. Did you know casseroles frequently include added ingredients that are much higher in sodium, unsaturated fats and sugar? If regular vegetables don’t feel special enough or don’t have enough flavor, consider adding toasted nuts or bacon bits to your recipe.
  • Add hummus to your dip rotation. Hummus is high in protein, healthy fats and fiber, making it a terrific choice for a holiday appetizer! Other options like cheese dips and artichoke dips can be much higher in fat, sodium, and calories than hummus.
  • Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Studies have also shown that it can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Baked apples instead of apple pie. Baked apples and apple pie share all the same delicious ingredients, apples, cinnamon and brown sugar, but baked apples have fewer carbs, fats and calories.
  • If you drink, choose red wine. Red wine is lower in calories than other alcoholic drinks, and it is also full of antioxidants, which can have heart health benefits. We recommend limiting to one or two glasses. Mocktails are also a great way to prioritize your health while enjoying an after-dinner drink.

Healthy Holiday Activities

  • Get moving! If you’re in a rut of holiday movie marathons, take a break now and then to get your body moving. A brisk outdoor walk can help lower your blood sugar, improve your mood and help you clear your head. The Centers for Disease Control recommend 150 minutes of physical activity a week for adults.
  • Or take a walk indoors. If the cold is killing your motivation to be active, try visiting local museums instead. The Booth Western Art Museum, Tellus Science Museum and Martha Berry Museum are all local and engaging ways to spend a few hours walking indoors.
  • Unplug! Organize a “No screen time” night with puzzles, board games or scavenger hunts. When you’re ‘unplugged’ with your loved ones, you can be more present and build stronger connections.
  • Sleep and slow down. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, taking care of yourself can fall on the back burner. Set aside one night a week to relax and participate in some of your favorite activities and do your best to regularly get at least seven hours of sleep.
  • Spend an afternoon at a local park. Try to make a point about going outside often to get some exercise and vitamin D, which can help raise energy levels and improve your mood.

Our Harbin Clinic providers wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Published December 18, 2023

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