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How to make healthier holiday choices

If you’re like me, you’re struggling this holiday season. My last hemoglobin A1C test was even higher than the one before. The test reflects your average blood glucose control for the two- to three-month period before the test.

Seattle Pike Place Market 031So I decided no desserts, no alcohol, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I not only don’t want to gain weight during the holidays, I want to lose weight. I weigh about 150 and want to lose 15 pounds.

It’s difficult. There are so many great treats during the holidays.

Here are 10 suggestions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you make healthier holiday choices:

1. Create MyPlate makeovers. Makeover your favorite holiday dishes. Use MyRecipe on SuperTracker to improve holiday recipes and get healthier results. Go to https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/MyRecipe.aspx.

2. Enjoy all the food groups at your celebration. Prepare wholegrain crackers with hummus. Add unsalted nuts and black beans to your green-leaf salad; use low fat milk instead of cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday means.

3. Make sure your protein is lean. Turkey, roast beef, fresh ham, beans, and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. When serving meats, trim away any fat before cooking. Go easy on the sauces and gravies – they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.

4. Cheers to good health. Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice.

5. Bake healthier. Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half. Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.

6. Tweak the sweet. For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie. Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

7. Be the life of the party. Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

8. Make exercise part of the fun. Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes, and reusable water bottles.

9. Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews.

10. Give to others. Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

Good luck to us all.

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