Tips for a healthy holiday season

Limit fat, sugar in recipes

  • By
  • | 9:00 a.m. December 1, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • Opinion
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The holiday season is an exciting time full of celebrations and gatherings with family and friends. Unfortunately, all of the fun and food can lead to feelings of guilt and stress as you try to get back to your normal routine. Here are a few simple tips to help you make healthy choices so you can enjoy a guilt-free holiday:

Limit fat in recipes

• Use unsweetened applesauce, canned pumpkin or mashed ripe bananas to replace the fat in baked goods.

• Replace heavy cream with fat-free half and half.

• Use two egg whites instead of one whole egg.

• Use non-stick cooking spray and non-stick pans.

• Use white wine or broth for sautéing instead of oil.

• Substitute part skim or reduced fat cheese in a casserole dish, or use a small amount of strong flavored cheese like feta, blue cheese, sharp cheddar or parmesan.

• Use low-fat sour cream or cream cheese, or replace sour cream or mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt.

• Prepare a vegetable platter or a fruit platter with low-fat dip.

Cut back on sugar

• Reduce the sugar in recipes by 1/3 to 1/2, and add extra spices or flavorings like cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract.

• Instead of frosting cupcakes or cake, use a light dusting of cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar on top.

• Use rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, a little coconut oil and honey for a fruit crisp topping instead of flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and butter.

• Only eat three bites of a decadent dessert.

Be mindful of what you eat

• Eat skinless turkey breast instead of dark meat with skin.

• Roast sweet potatoes with apples and cinnamon instead of marshmallow, brown sugar and butter.

• Eat lots of vegetables instead of gravy and other starchy foods.

• Pay attention to your portion sizes to avoid overeating.

By finding healthy alternatives, you can enjoy the holidays with your loved ones while staying on the right path to meet your health goals. For more tips and recipes, visit me in at our Florida Blue Center in Winter Park Village or visit the Florida Blue blog at

Carol Lemerond, ARNP, is a community nurse practitioner based in the Florida Blue Center located in Winter Park Village. Carol provides on-site health screenings for Florida Blue members as well as one-on-one health coaching to discuss a member’s health priorities, assist in overcoming barriers and making permanent changes to improve a member’s health. She also leads lifestyle improvement programs at the Florida Blue Center that are free and open to the public to learn more about nutrition, blood pressure management, stress management and diabetes prevention.


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