Holiday dining survival tips

Let's face it. This time of year means lots of extra cooking for special holiday meals and open house buffets. For many, one of the main challenges is to choose foods that not only appeal to our taste buds but to our sense of good health too. The American Dietetics Association offers some important tips on how to enjoy holiday meals that are not only tasty, but are good for you too.

Before the feast ...

  • When planning the menu, be sure to include plenty of fresh vegetables such as potatoes (white and sweet), winter squash, broccoli, carrots and green beans.
  • Look for ways to incorporate more fresh fruit into the meal as well. Try fresh fruit salads in addition to green vegetable salads. And for dessert, offer warm fruit compote for a delicious and healthful alternative.
  • Include side dishes using whole grains as the base.
  • If serving bread or rolls, be sure they're made with whole-grain flour.
  • Try using non-fat yogurt or fat-free sour cream for dips, sauces and pie toppings.
  • Use egg substitutes instead of whole eggs.
  • Try evaporated skim milk instead of whole milk in recipes.
  • Use low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth in mashed potatoes.
  • Top casseroles with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
During the feast ...
  • To get the most out of your meal and prevent overindulgence, eat slowly, savor each bite and enjoy conversation with your dinner mates. Remember that eating slowly will allow your stomach to get full.
After the feast ...
  • Regular physical activity is important all year round, and wintertime holidays should be no exception. Get the whole family involved in activities or sports such as walking, biking, playing a game of touch football or skiing. Good physical activity habits can teach kids that family exercise is just as important as family meals. So after the table is cleared, put on your coat and mittens and head outside for a refreshing after-dinner stroll.

Here's to a happy, healthy and delicious holiday season!