Healthy choices during the holidays

Published 8:48 am Monday, December 12, 2016

patty hudek mug 5788cThe holidays are upon us once again, and that probably means there will be an abundance of goodies and treats available at work, school, and home. Is there a way to enjoy the holiday goodies while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle though? Believe it or not, it is possible! Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can make healthy choices while still enjoying the occasional treat.

Do you have a sweet tooth during the holidays? We can help keep our sugar intake in check by being mindful of our portion sizes and frequency of consumption of sugary treats. Try to take advantage of naturally sweet foods like fruits or even sweet potatoes to satisfy your sweet tooth. Many sweet potato recipes call for added sugar, but have you tried just adding some vanilla or cinnamon instead? It’s a great way to enhance the flavor without adding many calories. We can even reduce sugar by one-third to one-fourth in many recipes and still yield a high quality, tasty product!

Searching for recipes online is a great way to find healthier recipes, too. If you do a general search for “Extension healthy holiday recipes,” several sources provide free recipes that have already been tested so that you don’t have to experiment. If you come across a recipe somewhere else that claims to be healthy, take a look through the recipe to make sure it doesn’t have a lot of added fat, sugar, or salt. And if you have a recipe you’ve made for years, maybe it’s time to try substituting herbs and spices for less healthy ingredients. You never know, you may end up liking your new recipe even more.

Let’s not forget our daily fruits and vegetables, either. It can be a busy time, so keeping baby carrots or other fresh vegetables on hand with a low fat dip or grab and go fruit can help get you through the day. Let’s maintain our health while enjoying some of the special treats of the season!

Patty Hudek is an agent with the Lafayette County MSU Extension Service. You can reach her at p.hudek@msstate.edu