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Have a Healthy Holiday!

Spending time with family and friends and enjoying special food is part of most holiday celebrations. However, you may leave the gathering thinking you ate too much. If you are planning any holiday gatherings, try these tips to keep your holidays festive and also focused on good health.
Have a Healthy Holiday!

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  • Keep the celebration simple. How about a soup, bread, and salad potluck? If some of your guests do not have time to cook, could they help organize or assist with cleanup?
  • Have fun with your menu ideas. Be sure to feature fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthful foods such as these:
    • Red and green apple wedges with lemon yogurt dip
    • Parfaits made by layering nonfat vanilla yogurt with frozen red berries
    • Pomegranate seeds sprinkled over kiwi slices
    • Spinach dip served with red and green pepper strips and whole-grain pita chips
  • Slim your recipes. Choose lower-fat versions of your ingredients, such as "light" cream cheese. If you are making a dip, substitute plain nonfat yogurt for the mayonnaise or sour cream. Choose baked chips instead of fried. 
  • Remember food safety for holiday gatherings. Perishable food, such as cut fruit and vegetables, salads, meats and casseroles, should spend no more than two hours at room temperature. 
    • Use a slow cooker to hold hot foods hot. Keep food warm in the oven until you serve it.
    • Keep cold foods cold by making an "ice nest": Set bowls or plates of  food inside or on top of bowls of ice to help keep the food cold. Replace the ice if it melts.
  • Make activity part of the celebration. Organize a sledding party. If the weather is too cold outdoors, make room for dancing indoors.
  • Explore some new recipes. Visit and click on "recipes" for hundreds of foods in categories such as appetizers, soups, breads, and main dishes. Check out all the nutrition resources and videos, too. 

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise December 2014 newsletter (PDF)

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