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Tips for a Healthier Holiday

The holidays are a time to enjoy with friends and family………and food.

On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season.

While this weight gain isn’t dramatic, research shows that it tends to stick and accumulate over the years. Below are tips to help you create a healthy balance of food, physical activity and fun to stay on-track through the holiday season.

 8 Tips for a Healthier Holiday

#1 – Be realistic.

Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays. Rather, focus on maintaining your current weight.

#2 – Don’t skip meals.

Being overly hungry often leads to overeating. A small snack such as a piece of fruit or some raw veggies with hummus can help to curb the temptation to over-indulge later on.

#3 – Bring a healthy dish to a holiday gathering.

This is a great way for you to ensure there will be something healthy to consume no matter what is offered. This is also very helpful if you have a food allergy/intolerance.

#4 – Scope out the food table before dishing up your plate.

Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and then choose small portions of your favorite foods to enjoy in moderation.

#5 – Sit. Savor. Satisfy.

Sit down to eat, savor your food and only eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Don’t feel obligated to clear your plate.

#6 – Moderate your intake of caloric beverages.

Soda, alcohol, mixed coffee beverages, hot cocoa, juices and eggnog all contain calories which can contribute to weight gain. Rather, stay hydrated with water and enjoy a drink in moderation on occasion.

#7 – Plan time for physical activity.

Exercise can help to relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain.

#8 – Take the focus off of food.

Projects such as making wreaths, sculpting dough art decorations or playing minute-to-win-it games are great options for friends and family gatherings. Others include signing up to serve your community a holiday meal and going on a walk around the neighborhood to view all the holiday splendor.

Below, we share a couple of healthier holiday recipes. Give these a try, and enjoy with your family this holiday season!

Quick Holiday Nog



  • 4 bananas
  • 1-1/2 cups skim milk or vanilla almond milk
  • 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract
  • Sprinkle of ground nutmeg


  1. Place all of the ingredients (minus the nutmeg) into a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour in serving glasses and sprinkle with a touch of nutmeg.


Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Recipe By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Try this fabulous low carbohydrate recipe in exchange for mashed potatoes to lighten your caloric load, and provide a nutritional boost. Try topping it with some shredded cheese or chopped fresh herbs. Even the pickiest eater will love this dish:



  • 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (if you do not have buttermilk you can make sour-milk by mixing 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Snipped fresh chives for garnish


  1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and cook on high for 3-5 minutes.)
  2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor.
  3. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.

About WakeMed Corporate & Community Health

The Corporate and Community Health division of WakeMed provides worksite wellness and health promotion services to numerous corporate and community clients throughout Wake County. The department is made up of a multi-disciplinary team who perform preventative health screenings, education and coaching upon request. The department assists thousands of people each year on their wellness journey.