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Fun & Functional Foods For A Healthy Holiday Season
Focus on weight maintenance during the holidays, not weight loss. As social obligations and holiday traditions start to pile up, keep the pounds from piling on by paying attention to portion sizes and the number of servings. When hosting the party:
- Serve healthy snacks like roasted almonds at parties. At only 160 calories per (small) handful, almonds are packed with protein and vitamin E.
- Play festive music in an area where guests can get up and dance.
- Present foods like fresh vegetables with a low-fat yogurt dip in various locations to encourage mingling as well as healthy eating.
The holiday season brings with it a host of opportunities for physical activity to energize the body and relax the mind. According to a calculator compiled by the American Cancer Society, below are the calories that an average 150 lb. person could expect to burn per hour of holiday activity. Actual calories burned will vary depending on weight, body composition and level of intensity.
- Shopping for presents at the mall—206 calories per hour
- Light housecleaning to get ready for company—240 calories per hour
- Skiing—740 calories per hour
- Playing with kids—216 calories per hour
Many holiday favorites happen to be nutrient-rich or functional foods that can help prevent cancer, boost the immune system or help ward off the cold and flu season. All recipes highlighted in bold are available as part of the Healthy Holiday Feature on Meals Matter.
- Eggnog made from milk is a good source of calcium, vitamins A and D, protein, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients help prevent osteoporosis and colon cancer while managing mild cases of high blood pressure. MealsMatter.org features Classic Eggnog and Low-Fat Eggnog recipes.
- Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Try adding Bulgar Stuffing With Dried Cranberries & Hazelnuts or Maple-Cranberry Sauce to the holiday menu this year.
- Garlic is also a good source of phosphorus and potassium, as well as antioxidants that help boost the immune system and protect against the common cold. Serving Garlic Roasted Red Skin Potato Soup during the next family get-together may chase those winter sniffles away!
For more helpful tips and healthy holiday recipes, visit www.mealsmatter.org. Meals Matter – www.mealsmatter.org – is a non-commercial website supported by Dairy Council of California, staffed by registered dietitians and dedicated to promoting healthy food choices for families.
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