Kaitlyn Lee, UW-Stout Dietetic Student, is a 2015 graduate of Elmwood High School. Submitted photo
Kaitlyn Lee, UW-Stout Dietetic Student, is a 2015 graduate of Elmwood High School. Submitted photo

Submitted by Kaitlyn Lee, UW-Stout Dietetic Student

MENOMONIE, WI – Between the end of November and early December, what do most people do? They visit family and friends, look for the perfect gift, spread holiday cheer, and EAT. Think about it, during the holiday season, is there a time where there aren’t temptations to indulge in our favorite holiday foods? However, it is possible to enjoy your favorite holiday treats guilt free! Here are some easy tips to still enjoy the holidays without over indulging!

Research has shown that people often eat for comfort instead of hunger, but according to the American Heart Association, the most important habit to develop is awareness. During the holiday season, it is common to mindlessly eat and to lose thought of portion sizes; this causes people to eat even if they weren’t necessarily hungry. Listening to your body to tell you when you’re hungry is a great start to eating more mindfully. Eating mindfully simply means to always be aware of what, how much, and the time your eating. When someone practices mindful eating, they likely will not over indulge.

Another tip for eating with your mind on nutrition is recipe modification. Of course, the traditional recipes that may be prepared are spectacular and scream holiday cheer, it may be possible to make easy modifications that are more nutritious and heart healthy that will likely go unnoticed!

• Serve a vegetable and fruit tray before the meal to encourage eating fruits and vegetables.

• Substitute heavy creams with half and half for a lower fat option.

• Instead of cooking with butter, use olive oil or canola oil to avoid extra dietary. cholesterol and to get those Omegas in.

• Cook with less salt and more herbs for a heart healthy option.

• Instead of cooking a creamy vegetable dish like the ever-popular green bean casserole or creamed corn, serve roasted vegetables in olive oil and herbs for a more nutritious option.

The holidays are a great time to visit family, friends, and to eat some delicious food, but by keeping one’s mind on nutrition and eating mindfully, the holidays will likely be more enjoyable. Please remember to listen to your body during this time of year, if your body is telling you it’s full, take a rest from the fork to mouth maneuver.