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  • Katherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN

How to Stick with Healthy Eating During the Busy Holiday Season

The holidays are here! Now that they have finally arrived there are so many celebrations and family events to look forward to. However, it can now be a bit more challenging to make those healthy food choices. Read on to discover some quick tips that will help you stay on track this season.


This time of year with the crazy busy schedules we find it is the perfect time to utilize healthy convenient foods and it benefits to plan ahead.


Some pre-prepared items that may help you!

-Salad kits

-Pre-prepped fruits and vegetables

-Granola/breakfast bars

-Kodiak oatmeal/muffin cups

-Pre-made chicken sausage

-Steamfresh vegetables

-Canned beans


If you are looking to meal prep, try some new crockpot or slow cooker recipes. These are great for dinners, as well as leftovers for a work lunch or even a busy weekend full of holiday parties. Using ingredients that are in season will not only help cut costs, but help to enhance flavors.


What produce is in season now? This time of year aim for more apples, bananas, blueberries, citrus fruits, as well as broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots and cauliflower. All of these vegetables listed taste amazing in the air fryer and only take 10 minutes. These fruits are great in a parfait, warm bowl of oatmeal, or even raw!! They only not only take minimal time to prepare, but pack a ton of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to help our immune system during these cold winter months.


Always be sure to practice mindful eating and enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation, as well as the appropriate portions. You can still enjoy your favorite Christmas cookies, but be sure to include your favorite fruits and vegetables more often!


You can also create your family recipes in a new healthy way.


To Reduce Fat:

  • Use fat-free (skim) milk instead of whole milk.

  • Use low-fat sour cream (1%) or fat free plain yogurt in place of sour cream.

  • Use low-fat varieties of cheese instead of full fat cheeses.

  • Use one fourth less of liquid oil or solid fat in most recipes.

  • Use 2 egg whites for every egg or one fourth cup of egg substitute for every egg

  • Substitute lean ground turkey for all or part of ground beef in recipes.

  • Use half the specified amount of oil to sauté or brown food.

  • Substitute applesauce for one half of the butter or margarine in cookies or cakes.

  • Use cooking methods such as bake, boil, broil, grill, roast or stir-fry instead of cooking foods in fat.


To Reduce Sugar:

  • Use up to one third less sugar in recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads, and pie fillings. This includes sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, and molasses.

  • Replace canned fruit packed in syrup with fresh fruit or with canned fruit packed in water.

  • Add cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract in place of sugar for sweetness.


To Reduce Salt:

  • Omit or reduce one half the amount of salt in most recipes.

  • Replace salt with spices or herbs to add flavor.

  • Use fresh or frozen foods, rather than canned foods, or use low sodium canned foods.


To Add Fiber:

  • Use brown rice instead of white rice.

  • Use whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta.

  • Substitute up to one half of all purpose flour with 100% whole wheat flour.

  • Add whole oats or chopped fruit to cookies, muffins, waffles, and pancakes.

  • Add beans to soups, casseroles, and salads.


Have a happy and healthy holiday season!!


Until Next Time, Katherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN


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