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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Holidays


Six steps to a healthier holiday season

Janet Hackert, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Harrison County, University of Missouri Extension


At the end of every year and beginning of a new one, people make resolutions to lose weight. Many times, people feel guilty about the weight they’ve gained during the holidays. This holiday season, try following some of the steps from Tufts University’s November Health and Nutrition Letter to prevent putting on the weight.


  1. Serve turkey twice. Turkey is a great source of protein that is low in fat, salt and calories. Consider serving turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas instead of beef roast or ham, which is higher in fat. Keep in mind that the healthiest part of the turkey is the breast.
  2. Go with whole grains in stuffing. Use whole-wheat bread instead of white in a traditional stuffing recipe. Better yet, with brown or wild rice as the main ingredient, you can use less butter. Adding more flavorful veggies like onions, garlic or shallots to the mix increases aroma and flavor with fewer calories.
  3. Roast your vegetables. According to the newsletter, roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables, from carrots to asparagus to corn. Eliminating the soaking and cooking in boiling water also keeps nutrients locked in.
  4. Simplify dessert. Tufts does not suggest skipping dessert, but suggests ways to make a wise choice at the end of the meal. For example, instead of offering three different pies, just have one favorite and serve it with a fresh fruit salad. To make it more festive, make the fruit into a parfait. Strawberry and kiwi slices layered with low-fat yogurt would be a delicious and decorative finale to any meal.
  5. Drink fewer calories. The What America Drinks study found that Americans consume 22 percent of total calories in liquid form. Why not serve water or low-calorie drinks and save the calories for other favorite holiday fares.
  6. Take some extra steps! Before, during or after watching the big football game, take a walk or have a game of your own. After consuming extra calories at the table, get up and burn some of those calories to balance things out.


Choose healthy habits this holiday season and do without the regrets later!


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Last update: Monday, November 23, 2015