The holidays are known as a time for indulgence. Whether it’s buying lavish gifts or stacking your house so full of lights it can be seen from space, there’s no denying that people like to go all-in with their celebrations. That of course means that consumers are looking to enjoy their favorite holiday treats this time of year. With tons of treats and heavy meals, it’s hard to find a way to have a healthier holiday.

Indulging a few times a year is natural, but it’s easy to go a little overboard with the hearty holiday foods. Research completed by Calorie Control Council recently found that the average person eats more than 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving dinner alone. That’s 1.5 times what most healthy adults should eat in an entire day! Overeating can be harmful to the body, as it works extra hard to metabolize all that extra fuel its receiving. 

How can you have a healthier holiday?

Here are a few suggestions to still offer your guests a delicious and rich meal, without going too overboard with calories, fat or sugar.

  • Use a smaller plate – It’s all about perspective. A smaller plate full of smaller portions looks just as satisfying as a larger plate piled up with food. It also makes it easier for you and your guests to avoid overeating.
  • Read the labels – Watch out for extra sugar lurking in some holiday staples, such as cranberry sauce and canned pumpkin. Try making these items from scratch so you know exactly what’s going in them. Don’t have enough time to cook the whole thing? You can always look for “no sugar added” labels on canned goods for a healthier alternative.
  • Keep veggies clean – It wouldn’t be the holidays without a fatty, salty green bean casserole on the menu. However, try offering some other lighter veggie sides as well. Roasted veggies or a salad tossed in a seasonal vinaigrette are also crowd pleasures. They can still satisfy guests without adding tons of fat and calories to an already indulgent meal. 
  • Rethink your buffet – Try re-arranging your buffet with healthier choices at the beginning of your buffet. Having fresh salads or crudité at the front makes it so guests fill their plates with those first. 
  • Avoid the unlimited extras – Everyone gets excited for warm rolls and butter to start their meal. One thing to note is that these can be a large source of calories before the main event even starts. Avoid refilling the baskets unless your guests request more or opting for smaller rolls.

If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a healthier holiday meal and still might have room for some delicious desserts. All of us at MenuTrinfo wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season!