Healthy Holiday Eating

American Heart Association Holiday Healthy Eating Guide


The American Heart Association (AHA) has published a new “Holiday Healthy Eating Guide,” with tips for consumers on how to navigate the Holidays – usually a heavy-eating season – in a way that is healthy for your heart, blood pressure and cardiovascular health, and will help you avoid gaining weight.

Here are some of the tips suggested by the AHA:

  • Know the number of calories – for your gender and age – that you can eat each day without gaining weight;
  • Increase your physical activity by going for a family walk after each meal or gathering, shooting hoops, jumping rope, playing catch or engaging in other family activities. The AHA booklet includes suggestions of “ways to stay safe and active in the winter;”
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water when you exercise, to avoid dehydration. “A good rule of thumb is to drink one cup of water for every 15 minutes of physical activity;”
  • Beware of high-calorie Holiday beverages, like eggnog, hot chocolate, apple cider or cocktails, that can fool you as to the number of calories you are consuming;
  • For appetizers, “Look for fruit, veggies and dip, whole-grain crackers, and baked or grilled items,” rather than foods that are fried, buttered or have a lot of cheese and cream;
  • Choose lighter turkey meat (it has fewer calories), limit the gravy, and be aware of the contents in dressings or casseroles;
  • Limit desserts, by sharing them with someone, and sample one or two bites rather than consuming the whole, caloric dessert;
  • In baking or cooking, read the AHA pamphlet to learn what healthy ingredients you can substitute in recipes that call for butter, sugar, cream, white flour,
    chocolate, candies, or alcohol;
  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying them.

The pamphlet, Holiday Healthy Eating Guide, is available for download from the American Heart Association’s website.