Lighten Up Your Holiday With These Tips From Martin’s Nutritionists

It’s easy to get derailed on your healthy eating plan during the holidays.  Thankfully, the nutritionists at GIANT Food Stores and MARTIN’S Food Markets gave us a few tips to make better-for-you choices, so you can still enjoy the holidays without any regret on January 1st.

  • holiday mealOne of the most important things to remember is that it’s all about moderation. If you love your aunt’s famous cheesecake, enjoy a smaller piece of it and forgo another glass of wine or that chocolate chip cookie.
  • If you go to a party hungry, you are more likely to overeat. So instead of skipping a meal earlier in the day, eat a light lunch or snack to curb your appetite beforehand.
  • Before plunging into the buffet table at your next holiday party, first take stock at what’s available. Walk the buffet line to see what your options are and choose the lighter, healthier options to fill your plate like non-starchy vegetables, green salads, broth-based soups, grilled, baked, or roasted poultry options and seafood, and fruit for dessert.
  • Fill half of your plate with seasonal fall vegetables, one quarter of your plate with lean protein, and finish the remaining quarter with a starch, such as potatoes or corn. Try some of the season’s best veggies like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli.
  • Build a better veggie tray. Try marinating your veggies in a light marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a mixture of spices. Think beyond carrot and celery sticks and get adventurous with crudités of very lightly steamed asparagus, pea pods, jicama, or roasted red peppers. Variety in shape also adds interest!
  • Keep your portion size in check when it comes to cheese. Remember, one ounce is a serving of cheese. There are also a lot of excellent flavored and textured reduced fat cheeses to enjoy. Try choosing sharp cheese instead of mild as it has more flavor punch per ounce, so you can use less.
  • Stuffing is often a favorite side dish with several opportunities to make it healthier. Try swapping out white bread with whole grain bread to increase the fiber content. You can also cut sodium and calories from your favorite stuffing recipe by choosing low or reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth varieties. Be creative with fruits and vegetables in your stuffing – mushrooms, cranberries or butternut squash are great to mix in.
  • Sparkling beverages can provide an alternative or an addition to alcoholic ones. Feature a pitcher of sparkling fruit flavored seltzer water (calorie and sodium-free) dressed up with floating cranberries and orange slices. Add a little cranberry or pomegranate juice for color. Don’t forget ice water as an option for your guests.
  • Pumpkin is so versatile! Use it in breads, muffins, smoothies, and of course, pie. Be sure to use 100% pumpkin puree or canned solid-pack pumpkin. Swap out oil and butter for pumpkin in baking recipes without sacrificing taste or texture.
  • There are also plenty of lower calorie substitutes for your baking recipes too. Try adding almond milk in place of regular milk to add an extra nutty flavor to your dish. Whole eggs can also be swapped with egg whites and applesauce instead of oil. Eliminate the whole milk or heavy cream and use evaporated skim milk in its place. And instead of sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise, try plain non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Enjoy more winter fruits for dessert this holiday season. Incorporate clementines, tangerines, persimmons, and pomegranates into a dessert fruit platter. This will help to add more fiber and fewer calories than traditional desserts – filling you up without filling you out!



You can find more great tips at Or stop into your local MARTIN’S to pick up the free holiday edition of Healthy Ideas Magazine.

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