5 Ways to Keep the Holidays a Little Healthier

5 Ways to Keep the Holidays a Little Healthier

Brierley Horton, M.S., RD is a dietitian nutritionist, content creator and strategist, and avid mental health advocate. She is co-host and co-creator of the Happy Eating podcast, which breaks down the connection between food and mental wellness.

Every year, when the holidays roll around, both our willpower and stress levels are put to the test. And because stress depletes our willpower, living a healthy lifestyle this time of year can be much more challenging.

That said, we aren’t recommending you go all Scrooge-like during the holiday season. Instead, enjoy the season and implement some of our favorite healthy holiday habits outlined here. 

Pump up the protein where you can. Perhaps that’s in your appetizers (hello, Spicy Buffalo Wings with Greek yogurt dip) or a holiday meal side dish like mashed potatoes with high-protein yogurt mixed into these Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes. Remember, gram for gram, protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fat, so when you lean into protein, you’ll feel satisfied longer. 

Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

Work in fresh produce. Not only is it good for your health to fill your plate with fruits and/or vegetables, but they are also lower in calories and chock full of filling fiber—aka, you could eat more for less. Here’s a great way to sneak in some produce with these Cauliflower Wings or Spinach Artichoke Dip, or Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Eat breakfast. If you’re a breakfast eater, don’t skip it (we know that with the popularity of intermittent fasting, not everyone is). Here’s why breakfast is important: research shows that eating it may help curb cravings later in the day—especially if it’s higher in protein. However, in my humble dietitian opinion, this rule of thumb applies to whatever meal you “break your fast” with. 

Start your day with a protein-rich, balanced breakfast like this Baked Cheddar Frittata

Baked Cheddar Frittata

Bring a dish you want. There’s always an event where you’re asked to bring something, so make it something important to you. It could be a Holiday Cheese Board brimming with seasonal produce and protein-packed cheese or a delicious dessert made healthier like this Cheddar & Apple Galette or our high-protein Greek Yogurt Chocolate Pudding.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Pudding

Be intentional. Put another way, don’t mindlessly indulge (be that in desserts or cocktails or the snack buffet at a holiday party). Maybe that means fueling up with a healthy snack before you arrive at a holiday party, or it could be just consciously savoring that delicious and decadent dessert you ordered (or made). Also, keep in mind that while food is a huge part of the holidays, remember to focus on time with family and friends and holiday cheer.

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