Heart-Healthy Tips for the Holidays
November 14, 2022, 11:23 pm
The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends – and indulge in your favorite festive foods, sweets, and treats. It can be hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle with all the temptations, especially if your goal is to reach or maintain a healthy weight. According to the American Heart Association, even a few added pounds each year can cause the risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and stroke to increase. Being mindful about what we eat and keeping our activity levels up can help us to better manage our weight and have a healthier heart. Try some of these simple tips to add a little heart health to your holidays.
Enjoy your favorites in moderation. Have your favorite holiday foods that only come around once a year in reasonable-sized portions. Love snacking at parties? Here are some healthy snacking tips from the American Heart Association.
Think about your drink. Be mindful of empty calories in mixed drinks, sugary soda, and sweet tea. If you often visit coffee shops for seasonal drinks, ask for low fat milk and fewer pumps of sugar syrup in your holiday coffee order. Or try making a healthier “copycat” version of your own at home.
Eat slowly. Slowing down and savoring every bite of your meal can help you feel more satisfied and less likely to go back for seconds. Plus, you’ll have more room for dessert!
Focus on whole foods. At meals, load up your plate with colorful and filling foods like seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (like white meat turkey), beans and nuts. Processed foods often have higher amounts of sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats.
Stay active. Take a walk before or after big meals – and invite others to do the same! Look for fun ways to keep moving throughout the holiday season with friends and family and help everyone stay more active.
Consider substitutions in recipes. If you cook or bake during the holidays, prepare your favorite dishes with healthy fats and less sugar. For example, try cooking with olive oil instead of butter, or use sugar substitutes in baked goods instead of sugar. Bake, grill, steam, or sauté foods instead of frying.
For more inspiration, check out these healthier Thanksgiving recipes from Mayo Clinic.