Heart Healthy Christmas

These days, more and more people are trying to eat a heart-healthy diet. However, trying to host a heart-healthy Christmas can be quite a challenge.After all, many of the traditional holiday foods are loaded with butter, sugar and oil. However, Christmas food doesn”t have to be unhealthy. By tweaking your regular recipes and substituting certain ingredients for others, you can make heart-healthy Christmas cookies, traditional Christmas dishes and more.

By hosting a heart-healthy Christmas, you”ll not only enjoy more energy during the holiday season, but you can also avoid packing on the extra pounds that so many people seem to accumulate over the holidays.

Heart-Healthy Christmas Roadblocks

Sadly, there are many reasons why the Christmas season wreaks havoc on so many people”s diets, waistlines and overall health. During the holidays, overeating is common.There are often Christmas cookies in the office, neighbors showing up at the house with Christmas treats and an overabundance of food at Christmas parties.

During the holidays, people use Christmas as an excuse to overindulge or accept a second helping of traditional holiday fare. While this might be alright every once in a while, people often celebrate the holidays for more than a month. When you overeat on a regular basis, you”re bound to pack on pounds and experience negative health effects.

Food isn”t the only obstacle to a heart-healthy Christmas. Holiday drinks, a lack of physical activity and the combination of stress and excitement that surrounds the holidays can also upset our bodies natural processes. In order to stay healthy through the holidays, we must not only eat in moderation, but also limit alcohol consumption, get plenty of exercise and learn to cope with our emotions through relaxation techniques.

The Key to a Heart-Healthy Christmas:

Moderation is the key to enjoying a heart-healthy Christmas. When you practice moderation, you don”t have to miss out on all of the holiday fun and all of the traditional Christmas fare. By eating in moderation, you can enjoy many holiday treats, just not in excess.Most people also can partake in a Christmas drink or two without sabotaging their heart-healthy Christmas. Unless your medical condition restricts alcohol and specific types of food, there”s no reason you can”t indulge in some holiday cheer.

Enjoying a Heart-Healthy Christmas Dinner

For many people, Christmas dinner poses the biggest challenge to heart-healthy diets. However, there are many heart-healthy options at a traditional Christmas dinner. For instance, a three-ounce serving of skinless turkey breast contains only 119 calories and less than one gram of fat.

While turkey and ham can fit into a heart-healthy diet, many of the most common Christmas side dishes do not. The following traditional Christmas trimmings are often loaded with fat, sugar and cholesterol:

  • biscuits
  • gravy
  • green bean casserole
  • mashed potatoes
  • stuffing
  • sweet potatoes.

However, you can still enjoy Christmas side dishes in moderation, especially since you will most likely eat them only once a year. However, an even better option is to create your own low-fat, low-calories versions of Christmas dishes.

Here are some tips on preparing heart-healthy Christmas recipes:

  • Prepare mashed potatoes with chicken stock and low-fat butter rather than whole milk and full-fat butter.
  • Serve baked sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole.
  • Serve steamed vegetables or vegetables sauted in olive oil rather than vegetable casseroles.
  • Serve whole-wheat rolls instead of biscuits.
  • Top dishes with flavorful stocks rather than fat-laden gravies.

Healthy-Heart Christmas Cooking Tips

Here are some other tips to help with your heart-healthy Christmas dinner:

  • Add low-fat or no-fat cheese to cheese plates.
  • Replace cookies with seasonal fruits and nuts.
  • Serve turkey breast and low-fat ham rather than more fatty meats at Christmas dinner.
  • Serve whole grains instead of processed starches whenever possible.
  • Serve wild rice rather than dressing or stuffing.
  • Use fat-free or skim milk instead of regular milk when cooking.
  • Use plant oils sparingly in place of dairy fats.

Also, remember to stay active during the holiday season. Be sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.