Health and the Holidays

What would the holidays be without our favorite family recipes and memories of the aroma of meals being prepared for our greater families? As we make preparations for this holiday season, here are a few tips to take care of your health AND enjoy the holidays.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study of adults showing that average holiday weight gain was just under one pound. There is a lot of guilt about food choices which are associated with the holidays. Avoid negative self-talk and keep in mind that the holidays are a short period of time in relation to 365 days of the year. If you can have 80% healthy foods and 20% splurges, you are not going to undermine your overall health and wellness.

We can limit our fat intake by making a few small adjustments to holiday recipes. We can add non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt to creamy salad dressings to stretch the amount of salad dressing while decreasing fat and calorie content. We can use non-stick cookware with a small amount of olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Enjoy low fat hot chocolate made with skim or 1% milk. Substitute skim or 1% milk for cream in recipes. Fresh vegetables with a combination of plain Greek yogurt and herbs can be served to family and guests while dinner is being prepared. Have raisins, unsalted nuts, hummus, and low-fat cheese around the house for healthy snack choices. To limit sodium intake, use a dash of vinegar or citrus juices with a mix of herbs to provide extra flavor to your meals. Try to limit fried foods. Instead, choose boiled, baked, or roasted items.

We can also work on strategies to guard against overeating. Smaller plates can be used to build your meal. This will promote smaller portions of food. You can always go back for another serving if you are still hungry. Drink a glass or two of water before having any alcoholic beverages. Wait 20 minutes before going back to the buffet table for more food. You can bring a healthy dish to share with all invited guests. Avoid going to a holiday party with an empty stomach. Have a healthy snack before you leave your home.

The winter months can be more challenging to participate in physical activity. Take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner to look at holiday lights instead of watching television. Use the holidays to create quality family time. Take a morning walk, jog, or bike ride together if the weather allows.

Establishing healthy goals will promote a happy and healthy holiday season!

Community Nurse Home Care is here for you.
Community Nurse Home Care is a nonprofit, independent home care agency providing visiting nurses, therapies, hospice, private care, and wellness services to southeastern Massachusetts since 1916. Our mission is to bring compassionate healthcare services home. The patient’s health care needs are met through personalized care within the privacy of wherever they call home. If you are interested in learning more about any of the services we provide at Community Nurse Home Care, give us a call at 508-992-6278 or email us directly at