10 Easy Healthy Holiday Alternatives


The holidays are a time of good cheer, good company, and good food. Of course, they're also a time of interrupted workout routines and endless sugary snacks. No matter how enjoyable, holiday unhealthy choices are so common that most people gain 5+ lbs between Thanksgiving and New Years. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to ever-so-subtly reduce the fats and increase your metabolism over the holidays without missing out on a single scoop of stuffing or snacking tradition.

Ready for some healthy holiday alternatives? With just a little swapping this-for-that, you can avoid those holiday pounds and face New Years with a strong body and an uplifted spirit. 

1) Switch Out Egg-Nog for Almond-Nog

Egg nog: the single highest calorie delight of the holiday season. A single cup of spiked or un-spiked egg nog can be upwards of 500 calories, no matter how delicious or traditional. Instead of spending 1/2 to 1/4 of your daily calories on nog, switch to almond-nog instead. Just as thick and creamy, with a few added nutrients, almond milk makes great egg-nog and you can buy it pre-mixed as a holiday treat.

2) Take a Walk with Family when You Can't Hit the Gym

When you're visiting family, your local gym is out of reach but you don't have to give up on your workout routine. A little music-powered aerobics indoors can get your blood moving, but just taking a few social walks with family will help to reduce your fitness losses during your holiday break.

3) Bake with Dark Chocolate and  Skim Milk

Cookies, cakes, and pies are a big part of some family holidays. If you don't want to cut the baked goods, just upgrade your ingredients. Switch to real cocoa and dark chocolate instead of fat-and-dairy packed milk chocolate. Cook with skim milk, where the light flavor won't make a difference and use dried fruit instead of oily chocolate or peanut butter chips for texture and flavor.

4) Snack on Spiced Nuts Instead of Candies

Holiday candies and cookies can be a real temptation, especially when you feel snack-ish. Instead of munching out of the cookie jar, make or buy a big batch of sugar-coated and spiced nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts all make great, filling, and protein-rich snacks with only a light coating of sugar instead of sugar-packed candies. Plus, they're great for diabetes holiday health. 

5) Play Card and Board Games Instead of Social Snacking

The holidays are all about sitting around talking with family, but it's all too easy to snack as you chat. Give your hands something else to do with games like cards, board games, and puzzles. Light around-the-table activities will help keep everyone distracted from snacking and reduce the urge to get up every few minutes to grab another cookie.

6) Keep Up Your Water Intake and Hydrate Between Alcohol 1:1

If your holiday involves celebratory drinking, remember your hydration. Winter is an important time for water, juice, and other hydrating liquids. Everyone should aim to stay hydrated, but when drinking, be sure to match your alcohol 1:1 with a hydrating chaser. Have 8oz of water or tea for every alcoholic beverage you enjoy. You'll not only drink less and intake fewer calories, you'll also feel better in the morning.

7) Bust Out the Blender for Healthy Dips & Baking

The blender is your healthy-holiday best friend. Blend up tasty natural dips like hummus, veggie blend dips, and yogurt dips instead of heavier traditional snacks. A great dip with raw veggies and fruit can go a long way to reduce unhealthy snacking.

The blender can also be used to hide a few trace veggies in your baking like in breakfast muffins and fruity cookies.

8) Keep a Steady Holiday Bed Time

Did you know that a steady bedtime can improve your metabolism? Your metabolism controls appetite regulation, calorie burn, and your energy each day. While you may stay up and sleep late over the holidays, try to go to bed (and wake up) at about the same time each day for an easy boost to your health.

9) Swap Cocoa for Spiced Cider & Tea

Hot cocoa is a great holiday tradition, but you don't need a cup of cocoa every time the house is chilly and you'd like to warm up. Instead, brew up come spiced cider which lacks both milk and whipped cream, and keep a pot of water simmering next to a basket of delicious tea bags for low-calorie, wonderful-smelling warm beverages instead of cocoa.

10) Take a Post-Meal Walk Instead of a Nap

Finally, take a friendly walk with a family member, a pet, or alone with your thoughts after a big meal. The post-meal perambulation (walk) is a tradition that helps you digest and reduces weight gain due to sleeping on a full stomach. Instead of falling into a nap after a good meal, take a leisurely stroll. Your metabolism will increase, you'll reduce indigestion, and make better use of the calories with this one simple swap.

Staying healthy over the holidays is easier than most people realize. With a few simple changes, you can cook healthier, stay in shape, and enjoy every minute with your family just as much as if you hadn't changed a thing. In fact, you might even feel better as your body provides more energy as a result of healthy choices.

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