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10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season Slideshow

10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season Slideshow


Use creamy Greek-style yogurt as a base for easy savory or sweet dips and sauces in place of mayonnaise, sour cream, or processed store-bought dips. That classic artichoke and spinach dip will never be the same! — AR

1. Slim Down Dips and Sauces


Use creamy Greek-style yogurt as a base for easy savory or sweet dips and sauces in place of mayonnaise, sour cream, or processed store-bought dips. That classic artichoke and spinach dip will never be the same! — AR

2. Eat the Peel


Save yourself time while increasing nutrients and fiber by not peeling. Some of the richest nutritional value is found in the skin of potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit, and other holiday ingredients. — AR

3. A Healthier Mash

Maryse Chevriere

Think beyond mashed potatoes and serve puréed cauliflower, squash, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, or even beans. They pack a higher nutrient punch and have more natural flavor, which will reduce the need to load in the cream and butter. — AR

Click here to see the Mashed Cauliflower recipe.

4. Add Some Spice to Your Life

Use ethnic spices like smoked Spanish paprika, cumin, curry, harissa, turmeric, or Asian five-spice to add exciting flavors to classic recipes without increasing the fat or calories. Experiment with creating your own signature blends. — AR

5. Try Alternative Grains

Substitute protein-packed whole grains like farro or quinoa in your favorite rice or pasta recipes. A single serving of quinoa packs eight grams of protein, while white rice contains only half that amount. — AR

6. Stick to Natural Products

Cooking for gluten-free guests? Watch out for hidden culprits. Many brands of turkey and ham are injected with flavoring solutions or contain seasonings that may include wheat. Stick with an all-natural product and brine or season in your own kitchen for a moist meat. — OD

7. Make Sure to Read Labels

Bouillon cubes, canned broths, and jarred gravies can contain an outrageous amount of sodium, MSG, and other things you can’t pronounce. Always read the labels or better yet — make what you can from scratch. — TDM

8. Slowing Down

Istock/Joe Belanger

Take a break! Quality over quantity should be your mantra this holiday season. Instead of loading your plate with second helpings, prepare to-go containers for your guests. For food safety, remember to allow heated foods to come to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator. — TDM

9. Cut Back on Fat

Many classic sauce recipes call for beurre manié (kneaded flour and butter) as a thickener, but potato starch or cornstarch are great substitutions without any of the saturated fat. Dissolve in a bit of cold water and whisk away! — OD

10. Lighter Eggnog Options


For a festive drink without the heart-stopping cholesterol of eggnog, try a warm mug of almond, soy, or coconut milk with the traditional splash of bourbon and freshly grated nutmeg. — TDM

9 Tips for Healthier Holiday Cooking, and Eating!

Fact: The greatest number of heart attacks occurs on the same three days each year. According to a study published in the journal Circulation, you are most likely to die from a heart attack during the winter holidays.

Overindulgence is one key factor: over the holidays, we tend to overeat in general, consuming too much unhealthy fats and sodium.

How can you help your family eat healthier during the holidays? Here are some tips to still enjoy your favorite holiday meals, but keep them on the healthier side.

  1. Discourage second helpings. Don’t serve you mean with extra helpings readily available on the table. Instead, serve from a buffet or plate up servings individually. Bonus: you’ll use fewer dishes!
  2. Create a meal plan that is mostly fruits and vegetables.
  3. Use smaller plates. Studies indicate we consume more when we use larger plates, a good excuse to break out your vintage dinnerware—it will likely have a smaller diameter.
  4. Use fat substitutes. Use milk in place of cream. Drain excess fat from pan drippings used in gravy. Offer more fruits and vegetables and less cheeses for appetizers.
  5. Add nuts and dried fruits to side dishes to enhance flavor and increase fiber.
  6. Choose healthier fats like olive oil, Smart Balance, canola oil or nut oils.
  7. Play with texture and flavor combinations to create interesting flavors that don’t rely on fat or sodium.
  8. Plate up dessert in small portions and serve them buffet style instead of allowing guests to cut their own portion.
  9. Protein foods curb your appetite so offer small healthy protein bites as appetizers (think light cheeses, smoked salmon on cucumbers, shrimp cocktail, herbed nuts…). See the Stuffed Endive recipe below.

You may remember my advice from Halloween…if you totally blow it overeating, dust yourself off the next day and get right back on track. It is common to adopt the attitude “oh well, I have already screwed up my eating this year. I’ll start over in the New Year.” It is infinitely easier to keep weight off versus taking weight off. Those few pounds added during the holidays tend to stay there and then they get company during the next holiday season!

Stuffed Endive

  • 1 head Endive, washed and separated
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, chives, flat Italian parsley)
  • 2 Tbs pomegranate seeds
  • 2 Tbs chopped toasted nuts
  • Honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread nuts in single layer on cookie sheet and toast until crunchy (about 15 minutes) shaking occasionally. Set aside to cool. Mix cheeses and herbs together. Spoon cheese mixture onto endive leaves and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped nuts. Drizzle with honey.

By Katherine Matutes, Ph.D., JCC Indianapolis Director of Health and Wellness

Katherine is a food advocate, mom, culinary nutritionist and science lover who is a regular contributor to the JCC’s blog on nutrition.

Make Healthier Holiday Choices: 10 Tips For A Healthier Holiday

The holidays are often filled with time-honored traditions that include some of our favorite meals and foods.
As you celebrate, think of little changes you can make this holiday season to create healthier meals and active days.

1. Create MyPlate makeovers

Makeover your favorite holiday dishes. Use My Recipe on SuperTracker to improve holiday recipes and get healthier results.

2. Enjoy all the food groups at your celebration

Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green-leaf salad include fresh fruit at the dessert table use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday meal.

3. Make sure your protein is lean

Turkey roast beef fresh ham beans and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. Trim fat before cooking meats. Go easy on the sauces and gravies―they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.

4. Cheers to good health

Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

5. Bake healthier

Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half. Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or
nutmeg instead of salt.

6. Tweak the sweet

For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie. Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

7. Be the life of the party

Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

8. Make exercise a part of the fun

Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes, and reusable water bottles.

9. Enjoy leftovers

Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews. The possibilities are endless! 10 give to others Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

10. Give to others

Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

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4. Eat Grounding Foods

Stuffing and wine, cookies and cocktails&mdashthose holiday goodies can get the best of you. And while Serena encourages you to enjoy yourself (in moderation, of course), she also notes how important it is to balance it out with ground foods, i.e. foods that keep your energy strong. Here are some examples of her favorite grounding foods:

Root Vegetables: &ldquoVegetables grown in the earth carry powerful, grounding qualities,&rdquo says Serena. Some examples of nutrient-dense root vegetables include sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, radishes, beets, parsnips and turnips.

Soups and Stews: Serena believes that &ldquohearty, nourishing soups and stews are the ultimate food for comfort and security. Even the preparation of making a warm soup or stew is healing and cathartic, as it&rsquos a slow and transformative process. Root vegetables and a mineral rich broth are grounding and supportive.&rdquo

Grounding Spices: &ldquoI love spices like ginger, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, allspice, paprika, cinnamon and coriander,&rdquo she says. &ldquoThey are warming and grounding. Cook with them, add to teas and soups, and enjoy the depth of flavor and the balance they offer.&rdquo

10 Tips For Throwing A Healthier Holiday Party

It can be challenging to host a festive holiday party without throwing everything you know about health and nutrition out the window. The more decadent the food, the boozier the booze, the more everyone will enjoy themselves -- right? While we're big believers in indulging from time to time, the truth is that a menu filled with rich, fried and sugary treats can lead to indigestion and other discomforts. What if we told you it was possible to plan a delicious menu filled with nutrient-rich, locally produced, organic ingredients that will leave you and your guests feeling like a million bucks? You're in luck. Read on for tips from holistic chef and nutritional consultant Lisa Roberts-Lehan.

Tip Number 1: Boost Your Antioxidants

As much fun as the holiday season can be, the reality is that it leaves most of us feeling stressed out. Minimize harmful free-radicals caused by stress with antioxidant-rich superfoods like cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, bell peppers, kale, and yes, even organic dark chocolate. Because each color contains different antioxidants, be sure to use a rainbow of colors in your cooking and baking.

Tip Number 2: Stay Hydrated with Water-Inspired Beverages

It's easy to over-indulge on both food and alcohol this time of year. To help flush out excess sodium, sugar and the toxins from alcohol, keep pitchers of filtered water available for your guests. Try our recipe for Filtered Water Infused with Organic Citrus Fruit Slices:

  • Fill a water pitcher with filtered water.
  • Add 1 sliced orange, 1 sliced lime, 1 sliced lemon and a handful of fresh mint.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow flavors to infuse before serving.

Tip Number 3: Sub in All-Natural Sweeteners

Show off your baking skills and impress your guests with cookies, cakes, muffins and quick breads made with all-natural, lower-glycemic sweeteners. Replace processed white sugar with organic 100 percent pure raw honey or maple syrup from local producers, coconut palm sugar or date sugar. These options all have more nutritive value than plain-old sugar and can help stave off sugar-induced energy crashes.

Tip Number 4: Bring On the Whole Grains

Pick your favorite crostini recipe (we like this one), then swap a regular baguette for one made with organic whole wheat or spelt. If you're making a pasta or rice dish, look for products that feature whole grain organic brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet or amaranth. Your guests will wonder why they feel so much lighter yet more satisfied from your crafty cooking.

When baking, replace all-purpose flour with whole grain options like organic spelt or whole wheat flour, which not only boost nutrients, but also flavor.

Tip Number 5: Give Your Guests Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Based Dishes

Surprise both your carnivore and vegan guests with delicious plant-based dishes that are easy to prepare, flavor-packed and nutrient-rich. Vegetable dishes help you fill up quicker and give your body the nutrients it needs to off-set the negative affects of richer foods and beverages.

Our favorite crowd-pleasers? Roasted organic winter squash tossed with olive oil, sage and rosemary. Cauliflower mashed potatoes. Arugula and goat cheese salad tossed with cranberries and spicy pumpkin seeds. Baked kale chips. And Clean Plates' recipe makeover of "Top Chef Texas" contestant Molly Brandt's Smokey Sweet Potato Soup with Pork Cheek and Tequila Cilantro Lime Cream.

Tip Number 6: Choose Organic, Locally Produced Booze

Yes, even the alchohol you serve can be healthier, for you and the planet. Avoid the chemicals used in conventional farming and minimize your environmental impact by choosing organic and biodynamic wines, organic liquors and locally-brewed beers. Up for a little mixology? Check out our makeover of Saveur Magazine's Eggnog, as well as these delicious cocktail recipes (featuring anti-oxidant-boosting cranberries and pomegranate, no less -- see tip #1!). For the teatotalers in your group, make the eggnog sans alcohol, or offer sparkling water garnished with fruit.

Tip Number 7: Dress Up Your Crudités

We admit it, vegetable crudités aren't the most exciting addition to your holiday spread. Still, many guests appreciate having an obvious healthy option. And crudités are not only refreshing and packed with essential vitamins, they also make an eye-pleasing display -- and, per tip #5, vegetables can off-set the effects of richer foods (and booze). Pair with a selection of two to three dips made with organic ingredients -- choose fiber-rich bean dips and hummus over cream-heavy options.

Tip Number 8: Feature Antibiotic- and Hormone-Free Meat

For nibbles to please the carnivores on your guest list, make your way to your local farmer's market and find out who offers pasture-raised, grass-fed meat and poultry without antibiotics or hormones. You can also use the Eat Wild and Local Harvest websites to find local markets and producers. Looking for a crowd-pleasing recipe? Check out our makeover of Emeril Lagasse's Spanish Meatballs.

Tip Number 9: A Local Cheese Board

Who doesn't love a selection of fine cheeses to accompany an organic wine? Make your way to your local farmer's market and sample the different cheeses on offer. Choose three to five selections and pair your cheeseboard with organic fresh fruit, unsweetened and sulphur dioxide-free dried fruit, and fiber-rich nuts. Yum.

Tip Number 10: Give Creative Holiday Favors

Send your guests home with better-for-you party favors. Some of our top picks?

  • Organic dark raw chocolate from a local chocolatier. We love Nibmor Chocolates -- try their drinking chocolate in particular.
  • A piece of fruit tied with a bow.
  • Homemade organic preserves or chutney.
  • Local organic raw honey.
  • Homemade baked goods made with natural sweetener.
  • A handmade ornament.

Got questions as you plan your party? Let us know and we'll do our best to help.

Lisa Roberts-Lehan is a freelance writer, holistic chef, and nutritional consultant based in New York City. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she loves nothing more than being in the kitchen and developing new recipes. Her work has been featured in Brad Lamm's JUST 10 LBS, Erika Lenkert and Brook Alpert's Healthy Nutritious Pregnancy, as well as AOL/Fox, Plum TV, SOBeFiT magazine and McFadden Performing Arts publications.

It’s December. Are You Feeling Good About The Weeks Ahead?

10 Tips for A Happier + Healthier Holiday Season

1. Increase The Quality and “Realness” of Your Food, No Matter What It Is

There is almost ALWAYS a way to use better quality and real-food ingredients, no matter what you are trying to eat or make…. which usually leads to a better tasting dish anyways. The fact is, when you use fresh, pure food, you don’t need to do a lot to it, to make it shine with flavor and great taste. It’s the foods that naturally have no flavor or benefit to you that need the loads of sugars, salt, chemicals and preservatives. Want a holiday cocktail? Great. Have one with fresh juice, club soda, herbal or homemade infusions or a homemade simple syrup from maple syrup or raw honey for flavor, not the bottled “mixer” [check out my new cookbook if you need more ideas and recipes along these lines!] Want hot chocolate? Perfect. The real-food version of it would be to make your own by melting real dark or milk chocolate with almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk or whole milk and water. It has a much different impact in your body than that powdered foreign substance. And tastes way better too. No deprivation here, ever!

2. Have Non-Negotiable Behaviors. And Just Do Them [No Excuses]

There is a great study that states that we only have a certain amount of willpower per day. And it’s small. So don’t waste that precious decision making power on insignificant things. And by insignificant, I mean choosing the less healthy option when faced with two. Make the healthy option your default–, your routine, your thing that you don’t even think about doing, you just do it. And then keep doing it. Because that is just what you do. See where I’m going? I don’t mean with everything in life, because frankly people who have a entirely set routine with everything are quite boring and anxiety ridden to be with. But create a routine with the things that you know will actually help you, and create big downstream impacts in the rest of your life.

For example, I get up every morning and have green tea or hot water with lemon and ginger or water or coconut water. Something that hydrates me and sets the tone of my day as I start my morning emails. If I want coffee or something else later, I just have it afterwards. Hydration first, no exceptions (for most normal days). When the water is boiling, I make my green smoothie for lunch and put it in the fridge in a big mason jar to take with me on the go. I just do it. I don’t wander down in the kitchen and think– hmmm… what should I have for lunch today? Salad? Soup? A little veggie wrap? Sushi? A Sandwich? Gluten free pizza? Hmm.. maybe I could stop at that little place… no. NO. See where too many decisions can be worse? You’re wasting your precious amount of decision power for the day. But it doesn’t have to be boring or rigid. I put different things in my smoothie daily and mix up the exact contents of my morning beverage. It’s just a non-negotiable habit. No decision making power is necessary and it’s good for me, so I do it, and by this time takes me no brain power to decide to do it.

Drinking water, moving my body every single day, having the mental and spiritual space to process and center myself, and getting enough sleep daily are my other ones [and keeping an eye on my coffee, sugar and wine consumption each week so I can do this successfully]. You do have time for these things. Think of all the time people waste doing silly things that don’t increase their energy and quality of life overall- pinning on pinterest, watching TV, scrolling FB, etc. These non-negotiable behaviors are the things that impact everything else in your day and life. And they are not the same for everyone. So, what are yours? Try picking just 2 to start, and really commit to them daily. The 2 biggest and best things you can do, little or big, every single day that will help you feel your best and healthiest. Even in a month that is packed with events and other things. Don’t wait on this, try it. Do it. It can help you immensely.

3. Plan Out Your Week: Food Wise, Event/Party Wise + Daily Schedule Wise

I don’t mean down to the minute. But look at your week ahead. What days will you be out at events, get home late, or what nights will you be at home and can do a tiny bit of cooking. Most people just blow through the week, letting everything be a game-time decision (see #2 on why this doesn’t play to your advantage). Most households do well with at least 1 bigger dish that you can make on a Sunday or Monday and have for lunch or dinner at least one other time. Soups, crockpot recipes or 1 pot bake ideas are ideal for this. Something veggie based with some good protein. For your party schedule, take a look at the month. Factor in the parties. But don’t think all the other hours of the day are a wash now. Eat healthy all during the day, and enjoy something you love at each party (wine, dessert, etc). But you know you have a lot of these situations coming up, so there is no need to get crazy. Having a plan for the next morning- whether it’s a smoothie or a workout– will help keep you on track if you find it too hard. Daily, know that you WILL get hungry at least twice. So don’t let it surprise you. Have a plan for what you are doing for lunch and dinner so you’re not left to your tiny willpower decisions as the day goes on.

4. Treat Good For You Food Just Like You Treat Your Treats

Don’t kill me. But, pasta does not taste like anything. Neither does bread. But most people LOVE them. Why? Because they always get paired with more rich and delicious food to help them out. The butter, cheese, bacon, fresh herbs and truffle oil. And compared to steamed veggies, what would any person gravitate towards? But, what if you switched it? Treated your veggies and real food with just as much respect as the treats? Added some little special additions to your real, nutrient-dense food. It will make you look forward to eating your good stuff, and thus will create a good association with eating good food in your head. Thus, you will be more inclined to do so, and like doing so. Cook your veggies in butter! Drizzle truffle oil over your kale, spinach or lentils. Add avocado to your soup. Love good food and it will love you back. So much so, that you’ll have much less of a need for nutrient void, processed or addictive foods. Which can make your life better in a number of ways.

5. Not Everyday is A Holiday

Just because it’s December does not mean that everyday is a chance to treat yourself. I mean, you can. But you will feel horrible. And I am all about feeling good. Anyone else? You have way more hours this month NOT at parties than AT them I would guess. Unless you are way more fun than any of us. So, don’t screw the whole month. Do your non-negotiable behaviors. Eat well. Have vegetables. Drink water. Move your body daily. Identify the treats you love (alcohol, flour based food and sugar) and clear out the rest of the clutter. Don’t eat or drink stuff you don’t care about or don’t like! Save it for the times and occasions that you do. Having dessert at a event is much different than a daily peppermint mocha… just because the red cup is festive to you. What’s more worth it to you?

6. Create New Traditions

If cookie baking is a big time tradition but you can’t help but eat them all, maybe it’s time to rethink if it’s actually a positive thing for you to do. Either upgrade your ingredients on your traditional recipes (again, check out the new cookbook!), or change the activity. Spend time with people going on walks, taking a hike, making wreaths, playing games, watching movies, making dinner, etc.

7. Get Inspiration

Think of how you want to feel come New Year’s Day. And act accordingly. You won’t get there feeling nourished [in all senses], happy and calm by binging on sugar, flour and alcohol all month. I can almost guarantee that. But everyone needs inspiration. Things that get you excited– a new recipe, magazine, book, activity, workout class, whatever it may be. This is a great time of year to experiment with your health, in all senses of the word.

8. Be Real About The Feel [The 6 Second Rule]

Holidays can be a stressful time for a lot of people. The shopping, the concentrated time with family, end of the year business stuff to tie up, etc. So much is happening at once, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And the way our society is structured is one that encourages people to ignore, deflect, bottle up, distract, and hold in any stressful, anxious, or non-positive feelings. Which leads to some bad habits, and rarely an actual solution. Which is not exactly “healthy” in my book. Whatever is bothering you will just fester in your subconscious and take up precious room and time. So, what if you did the opposite? To just actually FEEL what you feel. To acknowledge it. Embrace it. Fully. And then you can move forward. There is a great fact I heard last year that it only takes 6 seconds for an intense feeling to pass. 6 seconds!! So, if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, bored, whatever, close you eyes and feel that emotion as strong as you can, as hard as you can for 6 seconds. Something magically releases. Try it.

9. Be Careful of Sugar. And Flour

They are the same. And not nutrient dense. And extremely addictive. And there is more of them around this time of year. See Rule #5. Clear the clutter.

10. Want a Present? Be Present

Count your blessings. Count the people you love. Count the great things in life. Count the great things that happen during the day. Becoming aware of these things help you notice more of them in your daily. It may even encourage you to do something nice, just because it could be the best part of someone else’s day. Share the love, whenever you are and whatever you are doing. It’s the best present you can give.

What else helps you get through the holiday season in happiness and with ease? Please share them in the comments below, or tell me what your non-negotiable behaviors will be for the month! If you liked this article, be sure to share it with your friends.

If you like the Simply Real Health philosophy, be sure to check out some of the other ways we can help you feel better, healthier, happier and more energized in your daily life – customized plans + help are available here, no matter your situation + lifestyle.

10 Tips for Healthier Holiday Parties

‘Tis the season for holiday parties which usually include seasonal treats. With all of the extra treats, the average American gains one pound over the holiday season. This may not seem like much, but considering that most Americans don’t ever lose that pound, it can add up over the years. Healthy eating habits don’t have to be put to the side this holiday season. Here are 10 easy tips to make holiday parties healthier.

  • Don’t skip meals or “save” calories for the party - Limiting food the day of a party and showing up to a party ravenous can lead to overeating later. Instead, eat small sensible meals and snacks throughout the day to help curb hunger later on.
  • Bring a healthy dish to the party – At least you know there will be one healthy option. Other health conscious party-goers will be thankful for your dish as well. Down to Earth has hundreds of recipes to try this holiday season. This Cranberry Kale Salad is healthy and delicious. It is topped with a savory pecan “parmesan” that is sure to be a hit.
  • Prioritize your food choices - Scope out the food table before you start adding to your plate so you know which foods are “must-haves” and which ones you will skip.
  • Little omissions - Not adding whipped cream to your pie or not eating the crust can cut around 100 calories.
  • Watch portion sizes - If you want to have stuffing, mashed potatoes and a roll, have a smaller amount of each item. Using a smaller plate can also be helpful to decrease portion sizes.
  • Avoid sugary drinks - They just add calories and don’t contribute to satiety, which makes you feel full and satisfied. Water and other un-sweetened beverages are the healthiest options.
  • Socialize away from the food table - Avoid the temptation to mindlessly nibble while you chat with people.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes before you go back for seconds - Take time to evaluate if you are really still hungry before hitting the buffet table again.
  • Slow down and enjoy your food - Take a moment to observe your food, savor each bite and try putting your fork down between bites. Many holiday foods are only eaten during this special season so take time to enjoy!
  • Stay physically active - Physical activity not only burns those extra calories but is also a great holiday stress buster.

A little preparation and mindfulness when partying can help you have a happy holiday season while keeping the extra pounds away.

10 Tips for Hosting a Healthier Holiday Meal (Without Anyone Knowing)

Hosting holiday meals can be stressful: You want everything to taste out-of-this-world delicious, but you feel guilty loading up loved ones with unhealthy fats and sugars. On the other hand, kicking off a meal by announcing everything’s sugar-free, gluten-free and fat-free can be, well, fun-free. This year, present your festive meal in a way that encourages health for everyone and maintains that indulgent, seasonal flavor. Everyone else will simply think the meal is delicious, but it’ll be your little secret that it’s sneakily healthy at the same time.

We see what’s in front of us as the right amount to eat, whether it’s just right or way too much. It’s easier to fill a plate with reasonable servings when there’s less plate to fill, and plates between 9 and 10 inches in diameter do just that. To prove it, one study secretly refilled people’s soup bowls as they ate. By the end, they had slurped 73% more than those with normal bowls. If the food’s there, we will eat it—small plates simply encourage smaller helpings.


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A member of our team of providers at Trinity Homes, Cordelia Nwankwo, FNP-C, is board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She works with facility staff and medical providers to address the medical needs of nursing home residents. A graduate of Kingwood College in Texas, she worked as a licensed vocational nurse in hospitals and long term care settings before earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ. She also practiced as a medical/surgical and step down ICU nurse at hospitals in Houston and Arkansas. She completed her Masters of Science in nursing from University of Central Arkansas in 2016.u00a0 A member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Cordelia is married to anesthesiologists, John Nwankwo, MD, and they have three children. ","available":false>,<"title":"Bahram Nico, MD","permalink":"","specialty":" Neurology ","specialty_name":"Neurology","image_url":"","phone":"701-857-5421","content":"

Dr. Nico is board certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. A graduate of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Dr. Nico completed his residency in Neurology and a fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He concluded a fellowship in sleep medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. ","available":false>,<"title":"Margaret Nordell, MD","permalink":"","specialty":" Obstetrics & Gynecology ","specialty_name":"Obstetrics & Gynecology","image_url":"","phone":"701-857-5703","content":"

A North Dakota native, Dr. Nordell practiced obstetrics and gynecology in the San Francisco area before returning to North Dakota in 1993 to join Trinity Medical Group. Sheu0027s an advocate for womenu0027s health with a particular interest in problems related to adolescence, pregnancy, osteoporosis, and menopause. Dr. Nordell is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology. ","available":false>,<"title":"Casmiar I Nwaigwe, MD","permalink":"","specialty":" Infectious Disease ","specialty_name":"Infectious Disease","image_url":"","phone":"701-857-7930","content":"

Casmiar I. Nwaigwe is board certified in Infectious Diseases. He offers expert consultation and treatment of illnesses caused by microorganisms, including bacterial and viral infections, HIV, pneumonia, wound infections and Lyme disease. He also consults on the rational use of antibiotics and treatment of resistant bacteria as well as providing advice to international travelers. Dr. Nwaigwe (pronounced WIG-way) received his medical degree from the University of Lagos in his home country of Nigeria. He completed a three-year Internal Medicine residency and three-year Infectious Diseases fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, where he received awards for his scholarly study and research. He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Infectious Disease Society of America, American College of Physicians, and the Society of Internal Medicine. ","available":false>,<"title":"Ronny Meunier, MD","permalink":"","specialty":" Psychiatry ","specialty_name":"Psychiatry","image_url":"","phone":"701-857-2360","content":"

Ron Meunier, M.D., is a psychiatrist specializing in behavioral health, a branch of medicine that studies and treats mental disorders including various affective, behavioral, cognitive, and perceptual disorders. He joined Trinity Health in January 2011.u00a0 Dr. Meunier earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honors) from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, in 1995, and received training in Marriage and Family Therapy Loma Linda University in California.u00a0 He earnedu00a0his Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alaska,u00a0Anchorage, in 1999 and a Medical Degree from the Medical University of the Americas in Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2007.u00a0 Dr. Meunier was a Masters Level Clinician at the Southcentral Counseling Center, Anchorage, Alaska, from 1998 tou00a02002.u00a0 He served as a Psychology Intern at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, Anchorage,u00a0from September 1997 to April 1998.u00a0 From July 2007 to June 2011, Dr. Meunier served as a PGY4 Resident at the Carilion Clinic - Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program (formerly University of Virginia, Roanoke-Salem Program), Roanoke, Va. ","available":false>,<"title":"Badie Alakech, MD","permalink":"","specialty":" Pathology ","specialty_name":"Pathology","image_url":"","phone":"701-857-5214","content":"

Badie Alakech, MD, is board certifiedu00a0anatomic and clinical pathology. A graduate of the University of Damascus Faculty of Medicine in Syria, he completed residency training in Pathology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. His training also includes post-doctoral research at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and a fellowship in transfusion medicine at Bonfils Blood Center, Denver, Colorado. Prior to joining Trinity Health he was associated with the Pathology Associates of Albuquerque, New Mexico. ","available":false>]'>