3 tips for eating healthy during the holiday season

As we recover from one decadent holiday — Halloween — two other holiday seasons are bearing down upon us: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Even if you don’t celebrate the latter holiday, it’s hard to get away from the potlucks, cookies, egg nog, and other treats that spring up in the office or at parties.

I struggle with overindulging during the holidays, but the tips below have helped me over the years. Hopefully you find them useful as well.

1. Eat beforehand

Don’t forgo the rest of the day’s meals before a holiday party — it may lead you to overindulging. Eat some lean protein, whole grains or fruit to stave off hunger — in a healthy way.

2. Strategize

Fill a plate with vegetables before moving on to meat and other foods at a holiday party. If there’s a must-have item in the buffet spread, grab a taste or two of it (my favorite is sweet potato casserole). For the most part, you’ll want to avoid the sauces.

Watch what you drink, from sugary coffees while holiday shopping to too many alcoholic beverages at an event.

Also — you can always overdo it on healthy foods too. Mind those portion sizes. Consider using a small dish to help rein it in.

3. Bring-your-own-food

Provide a healthy side dish to an event. It ensures that you can fill your plate with at least one nutritious item. A hearty salad, grain dish (think quinoa), or roasted vegetables will work.

This bring-your-own-food tip goes beyond holiday parties. Consider bringing a snack or a drink while you holiday shop or work. It’ll help you avoid temptations to stop for fast food or eat those holiday cookies.

Need a suggestion on a healthy dish to bring? Try this Fresh and Healthy Artichoke Dip, courtesy of Ali Rosen a staff writer for food-centric website The Daily Meal. The recipe uses fresh artichokes and avoids the mayonnaise and cream cheese in traditional artichoke dips.

Fresh and Healthy Artichoke Dip

  • 4 artichokes
  • 2 cups bok choy
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, preferably Grana Padano
  1. Trim the artichokes and pare the stems.
  2. Fill a pot halfway with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the artichokes in the pot. Cover and cook until the artichokes are tender but not overcooked, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Remove the artichokes and place the bok choy in the water for 5 minutes. Once the artichokes are cool enough to handle, remove the leaves and chokes, leaving only the hearts. Dice the hearts into medium-sized pieces.
  4. Remove the bok choy and chop into smaller pieces.
  5. Combine the artichoke hearts, bok choy, Greek yogurt, egg, salt, and lemon together. Place in a baking tin and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese. Turn the oven to broil and cook until the top has browned, for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Email Lauren at ldelgado@orlandosentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter at OS_LaurenD or on Instagram at orlando.foodie.



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