5 Healthy Holiday Survival Tips

Fall is here again. Can you tell? The daytime temperatures have dipped below 95 degrees and pumpkin spice is everywhere. Many of us greatly look forward to this time of year as it brings family and friends closer together. We also get time away from work and of course, the delicious food.

Whether it’s the company holiday party or a family celebration, here are five healthy holiday tips that will save you from dietary dismay come January 1.

1. Substitute foods. There are a lot of different ways to make recipes healthier. Most holiday meals consist of rich foods with decadent ingredients. Try some of these recipe substitutions during your next holiday meal.

Original Ingredient Healthier Substitution
Sour cream Low-fat plain Greek yogurt
Whole milk Low-fat milk
Heavy cream Evaporated skim milk or fat free half & half
Buttermilk 2% buttermilk or 15 tbsp. reduced fat milk to 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Cooking oil (for quick breads/muffins) Replace half (up to 1/4 cup total) with apple sauce, pureed fruit or plain Greek yogurt
Chopped pecans or walnuts Decrease by half and toast nuts to bring out more flavor
Shredded coconut Decrease by half and add half tsp. coconut extract


Add more veggies to your dinner or substitute full-fat dairy products for low-fat options. picking-books

Follow a child’s mantra and enjoy some relaxing time reading a good book. 

2. Choose your treats. We all need to relax and let loose every so often, however, planning for the occasion will help avoid overindulging. Choose either a sweetened or alcoholic beverage, or a dessert, but not both. A calorie is a calorie so limiting yourself to one “treat” per meal will not only prevent you from excessive intake but will help strengthen your self-control practice.

3. Put yourself first. Always remember that you are the most important person in your own life. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first, especially during the holidays. I recommend setting aside 60 minutes every day to do an activity for yourself. This could be a brisk walk in the park, relaxing with a cup of coffee and a great book, or just simply recording thoughts in a journal. If you don’t have 60 minutes, take however much time you can. Any amount of time away for yourself from the daily routines and chores is better than none.

4. Emphasize the event, not the meal. Instead of planning a celebration around a meal try to plan an outing or event that doesn’t revolve around food. This will allow you to do something active with family and/or friends that doesn’t encourage overeating and excess calorie intake. Some examples include walking around looking at holiday lights, carving pumpkins or doing fun holiday crafts.

5. Keep your medical appointments. It’s very easy to skip medical appointments during the holidays due to a busy schedule. However, it’s a critical responsibility to follow up with your medical provider regularly.

Mountain Park Health Center provides our patients with clinical pharmacists, behavioral health consultants, and registered dietitians to assist in medication management, behavioral health information, and dietary counseling. The holidays are a busy time of year, and now is a great time to schedule an appointment with your medical team. We help our patients manage stress, learn about ways to stay healthy and keep track of specific conditions and medications. Looking for a doctor or need to schedule an appointment? Call us to at (602) 243-7277.

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

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