4 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips from a Registered Dietitian (Recipe Included!)

Ready or not, November is here. And that means the holiday season is upon us! Shopping, food, parties, family – awesome stuff, but also more challenges than usual to staying active and healthy.

Work doesn’t stop during the holiday season, and for many it only picks up. Having a treadmill desk is a great way to keep active during this busy time of year.

Being active can be even more important during these months of pies, cookies, and eggnog galore. To start the season off right, we called on Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist, Lindsay Schmitz to help us plan for healthy eating. Lindsay passed along these four tips and a great holiday recipe! We love these tips, especially the last one: “Enjoy Your Favorites”!

Tip #1: Plan Ahead.

With a busy holiday schedule of shopping, visiting relatives and parties, it can be difficult to sit down to a healthy meal. Make healthy casseroles, veggie burgers, quickbreads, etc. and freeze them for later. Avoid the shopping mall food by bringing fresh fruit, whole grain crackers and low-fat string cheese.

Tip #2: Never go to a party hungry.

Skipping meals only makes you hungry and can easily lead to overeating. On the day of the party, eat a well balanced breakfast and lunch. Before you go out the door, have a healthy snack such as Greek yogurt, a cup of vegetable soup or a piece of fresh fruit with a handful of nuts.

Tip #3: Bring A Dish.

Many traditional holiday and party foods are high in fat and calories, so one key to success is to make sure there are healthy alternatives available. Offer to bring a dish and make it a delicious low-fat one. Try this recipe:

Cranberry Meatballs
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup whole grain corn flake crumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 beaten eggs or egg substitute equivalent
⅓ cup ketchup
Mix all ingredients above and make into walnut sized balls.
Place in a shallow baking pan.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes; pour off any grease.
Bake 10-minutes longer; pour off any grease.
Cranberry sauce
1 can whole cranberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 bottle chili sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat.
Pour over meatballs and keep warm in chaffing dish or slow cooker.
Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks or over brown rice as an entrée.
Makes 60 meatballs.
Per meatball: 48 calories, 2 gm fat, 3 gm protein, 4 gm carbohydrate, <1gm fiber, 11 mg cholesterol, <1 mg iron, 7 mg calcium, 146 mg sodium.
Tip #4: Enjoy Your Favorites.
Keep in mind you don’t have to deprive yourself of special holiday foods even if they are high in fat or calories. Less-than-healthy holiday favorites are not forbidden if you control your portion size and balance them with low-fat choices such as fruits, vegetables and seafood.
Thanks, Lindsay! Stayed tuned for more holiday survival tips from Rebel Desk!

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