Enjoy some holiday desserts without derailing your health goals: 10 tips to remember

Enjoy some holiday desserts without derailing your health goals: 10 tips to remember


There seems to be no lack of holiday treats this time of year: in the office, at neighborhood get-togethers, holiday open houses, family parties and evening events. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and nutrition experts say you can still enjoy the holiday treats while still sticking to your health goals. 

“The holiday season is synonymous with delicious desserts and sweet treats that tempt us at every turn,” Sarah Heckler, MS, RD, a dietician with Anne Till Nutrition Group in Raleigh, North Carolina, told Fox News Digital. 

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“While it’s tempting to indulge in the festivities, it’s important to strike a balance between enjoying these seasonal delights and maintaining your health goals.”

Here are some simple strategies and tips to help you savor holiday desserts without derailing your wellness journey.

1. Practice moderation 

The dessert spreads are likely to be abundant during the parties and festivities — but try to set limits if you choose that goal. 

“The holiday season is synonymous with delicious desserts and sweet treats that tempt us at every turn.” (iStock)

“Enjoy small portions of your favorite desserts rather than indulging in large servings,” Heckler suggested. 

Another idea to curb your temptation is to use smaller plates to help control portion sizes, she said.

2. Choose wisely 

Opt for desserts that are lower in added sugars and saturated fats, said Heckler. 

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“Consider healthier alternatives, such as fruit-based desserts or desserts made with whole grains like a fruit salad or a baked apple, to satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sugars and added nutrients,” she said.

3. Balance your plate

Pre-dessert, try a more balanced meal with a mix of proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. 

Family toasting around Christmas table

Before dessert, go for a balanced meal with a mix of proteins, vegetables and healthy fats.  (iStock)

“This can help offset the impact of the dessert on your overall nutritional intake,” Heckler pointed out. 

4. Stay hydrated 

Drinking water both before and during your meal may help, Heckler said. 

“Sometimes, our bodies mistake thirst for hunger — and staying hydrated can help you feel satisfied with smaller portions,” she said.

5. Be mindful of ingredients

When perusing the dessert table, lean toward desserts made with high-quality ingredients

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Be aware of hidden sugars and unhealthy fats. 

“Consider homemade desserts where you have control over the ingredients,” she said. 

6. Engage in conversation 

Mix and mingle with your guests and other partygoers. 

festive desserts

“Don’t just eat any old dessert because it’s there,” said one dietician. “Choose the one or two desserts that are your favorite.” (iStock)

“This way, you can still enjoy the flavors without consuming an entire dessert by yourself,” Heckler said. 

7. Sit down for dessert 

Think about it: You can quickly eat three pieces of peppermint bark over five minutes — or you can slow down, sit down and savor one piece over five minutes, said Vanessa Imus, MS, RDN, a dietician with Integrated Nutrition for Weight Loss in Bothell, Washington.

“Either way, you’re enjoying a holiday treat for five minutes; it’s just a matter of how many.”

8. Pick your favorites 

“Don’t just eat any old dessert because it’s there,” Imus said. 

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“Choose the one or two desserts that are your favorite,” she said.

9. Share the sweets 

Aim for small portions, suggested Imus. 

“Cut the fudge in half or split it with someone,” she said. 

Christmas gathering

You’ll get more satisfaction from your food if you’re actually paying attention to how it tastes, said one expert.  (iStock)

“That way, you can enjoy another holiday treat, like that sugar cookie screaming your name.”

10. Practice eating mindfully 

You’ll get more satisfaction from your food if you’re actually paying attention to how it tastes, Imus said. 

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“How often have you eaten something and then realized you didn’t even really taste it? That’s the point, right, to taste and enjoy the flavor,” she said. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle. 



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