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    Are Healthy Holidays Possible?

    Okay, let’s face it; the holidays can be a very difficult season to maneuver when you are trying to maintain the progress you’ve made in 2020. Getting through the whirlwind of treats can seem like a constant barrage of temptation to stray from your healthy eating goals. The holidays don’t have to be a relentless obstacle course requiring you to be battle-ready every moment, but they do require some preplanning and strategizing to make it safely through to 2021. Here are my top five healthy holiday tips:

    1. Eat Often

    It may seem logical to try “saving” your calories throughout the day before a large holiday meal. Unfortunately, this idea can backfire, leaving you ravenous and ready to eat everything in sight! Instead, try eating as you normally would, enjoying a high protein meal or snack throughout the day to help curb your pre-meal appetite.

    2. Stay Hydrated

    Many times we mistakenly think we are hungry when really we are thirsty. Your body needs half your body weight in ounces of water (and unsweetened beverages) throughout the day.

    3. Eat Your Veggies

    Vegetables are full of fiber, low in calories, and help you feel full! A really fun way to serve veggies is to build a vegetable “tray” with free standing veggies. Use shot glasses and pour a tablespoon of yogurt dressing (my favorite is cilantro/lime) into each glass. Slice vegetables such as multi-colored bell peppers, carrot sticks, and celery sticks pencil thin and about three to four inches long. Place the veggies standing upright in the shot glasses and place on the tray. This allows you to pick up the vegetable without the fear of spreading germs. For a photo and more detailed recipe, click here.

    4. Eat Dessert

    Staying healthy doesn’t mean no dessert! Deprivation dieting never works long-term. Instead, find some treats that will make you feel festive without breaking your calorie bank. Try chocolate almond bark or a granola apple crisp. These recipes can be found here along with many other healthy choices. Remember, it is not necessary to completely avoid foods you love. Instead, enjoy a small portion and savor every bite!

    5. Mingle!

    Even though we are social distancing and wearing masks this holiday season, we have heard mental health professionals stress over and over again how important it is for us to find ways to be together. Rent outdoor heaters, place chairs 6 feet apart and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate together in the backyard. At my office, we are going to continue our tradition of “Secret Santa,” but this year we are going to order the gift online and have it delivered to their home. Think of creative ways to stay in touch. Right now we need each other more than ever!

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    Jan Tilley, MS RDN LDCEO

    Jan Tilley, MS RDN LDCEO and president of JTA Wellness, Jan has become known as a national leader in nutrition counseling, wellness, and chronic disease management.

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