The holidays are a season for family, food and fun, but making healthy choices about food this time of year can be a real challenge. And amid all the hustle and bustle, where do you find time to keep up your exercise routine?  Don’t get discouraged though; healthy holiday eating is possible. We partnered up with our friends at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ to bring you some great tips to staying healthy this holiday season.

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Here are some quick and simple tips for making your favorite recipes healthier:

Ease up on the sugar

 When preparing your favorite holiday recipes, you can reduce the amount of sugar and still enhance “sweetness” by adding a bit more vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon. If recipes call for sugary toppings like icing, jams and syrup, try using fresh fruit instead. It’s healthier and tastes just as good.


Cut the salt

 For most recipes, you can simply cut the amount of salt used in most recipes in half.  And hold the salty condiments; pickles, ketchup, mustard and soy sauce add salt to your dish. As an alternative, consider cucumber slices and fresh tomato or fruit salsas.  You also might want to try low-sodium versions of mustard and soy sauce. In some recipes, you can substitute fresh herbs and flavored vinegars for salt.

Trim the fat

 In baked goods, you can cut the fat in half by replacing oils with unsweetened applesauce, prune puree or mashed bananas. Instead of full-fat condensed milk, use condensed skim. For gravy, heat fat-free, low-sodium broth (or drippings with the fat removed); mix flour into cold skim milk and pour slowly into broth, stir until thickened and season to your liking.

For more information on eating the right foods over the holidays, visit <>.

If you’re doing more visiting for holiday meals versus making them yourself, keep these tips in mind:

Don’t go hungry

Pre-munching on some healthy food at home prior to your party helps quell hunger pangs and eases the temptation to overeat.

“Mingle” all the way

When you arrive at a party, avoid making a b-line to the buffet table. Greet people you know.  Conversation is calorie-free! Get a beverage (ask for seltzer/sparking water as a good alternative to high calorie alcoholic beverages) and socialize!

 Eat slowly

The food’s not going anywhere! Enjoy each mouthful and savor the flavor.


Be realistic

Striving to maintain weight is a good goal for the holidays.  Be practical about it and try to make time for 30 minutes to an hour of daily light exercise.

This year, make the commitment to eat healthy during the holiday season.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey wishes you and your family a

healthy and happy holiday season