Most of us overindulge in treats at some point during the holiday season.
Between an abundance of sweets at the office, delicious homemade food gifts from friends, cookie exchanges and holiday parties filled with festive desserts, it's hard to say "no."
Fortunately, you don't always have to. You just have to make conscious choices and eat mindfully.
With that idea in mind, here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks to stay fit and healthy throughout the holiday season.
Lighten up: Consider substituting some of the oil for applesauce or a portion of white flour for whole wheat in your favorite holiday recipes. Experiment to see where you can make some heart healthy substitutions without sacrificing flavor.
Sneak it in: Add spinach to brownies, squash to muffins, or flax seeds on top of breads. Increase your fiber intake by adding some veggies or healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, etc.) to your recipes wherever you can. People love hearing about how you managed to add some "good-for-you" nutrtion into otherwise decadent treats.
Make a trade: Go ahead and enjoy the homemade fudge your co-worker brought to the office. Just have a smaller glass of wine later that night with dinner. Choose when and where you want to have your extra fat and sugar. It's great to treat your self here and there, just don't treat yourself everywhere.
Water ways: When you're at an event that offers wine or festive cocktails, be sure to stay hydrated with some good ol' H20. Have a tall glass before you imbibe and before having a second drink. This will help keep you from overindulging in alcohol, which is always high in sugar and empty calories.
Snack smart: Keep healthy snacks accessible no matter where you are or what you're doing. An assortment of nuts, fruits and whole wheat crackers that you keep in your glove compartment will always be a better option than other convenience foods that provide loads of calories but little nutrition. You can find loads of healthy prepackaged options at or you can create your own snack mix.
Fuel up: Before heading out to a festive holiday party or a shopping expedition at the mall, fuel up on a healthy veggie filled snack, like a veggie pita or a small salad. That way, you can relax and enjoy a cheesy appetizer or a sweet treat knowing that you've had a healthy serving of vegetables beforehand.
However you maintain your sensible eating plan during the holidays, be flexible and allow yourself some room for a few indulgences. Enjoy the tastes of the season!