How to Eat Healthier Over the Holidays

Use our easy expert guide to getting through all the seasonal party buffets and family feasts without discomfort,remorse–or unwanted extra pounds.

Given that food and drink go hand in hand with celebrations, it can be difficult to stick with good habits during the holidays.And,Let’s face it: Who doesn’t want to indulge a little at this special time of year? But it’s no fun to feel over-stuffed on rich foods–and you surely don’t want your guests to leave feeling ill aftereffects. Use these tips to have your fruitcake and enjoy it,too( just not to much).
personal prefenreces ,concerns for the environment,and your budget.Local produce can be healthier;nutrients may degrade if the trip to the store takes too long.Even in colder parts of the country,locally grown apples,sweet potatoes,and winter squash are available during the holida season.Organic produce is grown without the use of most pesticides or chemical fertilizers and isn’t genetically engineered.Rubbing conventional fruits and vegetables vigorously as you wash them will reduce pesticide residue can remain on surface and some are systemic-they get into the produce flesh and can’t be washed away.
Spice it up right “Sodium is used as a preservative in many canned and packaged foods”,says Lauri Wright,Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of South Florida.
“So they have much more htan if it was added just for taste.” Look for low sodium products; they contain 140mg or less per serving. To avoid added sugars,use canned fruit packed in its own juice(no sugar added) and consider making cranberry sauce by boiling fresh or frozen berries with just enough orange juice and sugar to take the acidic edge off.

Prepare it All Safely
in the frenzy of meal prep,we often neglect the basic rules of kitchen safety.”This is especially true during the holidays,when you have several people in the kitchen,”says Shelley Feist,executive director at the Partnership for Food Safety Education,Consider these reminders:

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Plan ahead 
“I always recommend cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer before you shop,because you’re going to need all that room,”says Marianne H. Gravely, M.S., a food-safety speciallist with the Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline.Keep raw meat in your shopping cart,grocery bags,and fridge.
Thaw in the Fridge 
“Food-poisoning bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature.and in 2 hours they can reach dangerous levels and develop toxins that can’t be killed with cooking.”Gravely warn.it takes one day of thawing for every 4 to 5 pounds of meat or poultry.
Keep It in a shallow roasting pan with sides high enough to contain any juices that might leak out.
Clean carefully. Cross contamination goes beyond rokie mistakes such as using the some plate for raw and cooked meat and forgetting to wash your hands before you start food prep.For expample,a Kansaas State University study found that kitchen towels were the most contaminated with bacteria of all the surfaces tested.That’s Because people often use them to wipe the courier or to dry their hands after rinsing them(as opposed to using soap and water)
And using your cell phone or tablet can be an unexpected source of contamination.”Every time you touch something during food prep is an opportunity to introduce  contaminants into your food.”Feist says.”So if you take a call,wash your hands again after you set the phone down.

Serve it Up Smartly “No one wants to feel like they’re depriving themsleves,especially at the holidays.”says Lisa R.Young Ph.D.,R.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University.But you can feed everyone at your table well without putting them (or yourself) into a food coma.
“You don’t necessarily need to thing about eating less,” Young says.”Just think about balance.”

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Downsize your dishes. According to Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab,when using a 9 half to 10 inch diameter plate,people typically serve themselves 20 percent less than they do on an oversized plate.And replacing large serving spoons with regular-sized kitchen spoons results in a 14 percent reduction.You’re most likely going to take two or three spoonfuls of stuffing regardless of spoon size.
Rethink what goes on the table. Serving everything family-style is undoubtedly more festive,but research has shown that is also results in people eating about 20 percent more than they would if they had to get up for them.One soluiton:
Load the table with serving bowls of the healthiest foods in your feast(Fresh veggles and salads,for example)and place the more indulgent ones.at least a few feet away.
Focus on the foods you love the most
There’s a lot of pressure at the holidays to eat everything .But don’t feel you have to load up on your sister’s special casserole unsless you really want it.Sample a small amount and be sure to rave about it.If you’re going to indulge,do so with the foods you wait all year to enjoy

Make the Right Grocery Buys
Serving a delicious,healthy holiday meal begins at the grocery store,but the choices can be confusing.The trick is to know which food labels are meaningful.

Whether you menu calls for turkey,beef,or pork,consider buying meat that’s organic or raised without antibiotics.
Experts(including 90 percent of the doctors surveyed in a Consumer Reports.

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TIP

USE SEPARATE CUTTING BOARDS FOR PRODUCE AND MEAT TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION.

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