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Eat healthy over the holidays

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The big Christmas feast looms and everybody brings their favorite dish, most laden with sugar, sauce, butter, salt, and other not so healthy food choices. It can be difficult to eat healthy and make healthy choices for kids during this sweet laden season but there are ways to control what you can offer to kids. The USDA offers tips and recipe links to help.

1. Create MyPlate makeovers. Makeover your favorite holiday dishes. Use My Recipe on SuperTracker to improve holiday recipes and get healthier results. Go to https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/myrecipe.aspx.

2. Enjoy all the food groups, all in moderation. Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer; add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green-leaf salad; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday meal.

3. Lean protein. Turkey; roast beef; fresh ham; beans; and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. When serving meats, trim away any fat before cooking. Go easy on the sauces and gravies―they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.

4. Drink up. Quench your thirst with low calorie options. Water is always the best choice. Add lemon, orange, or lime slices for a refreshing flavor treat. Low calorie optins like seltzer with a splash of fruit juice work, too.

5. Healthy baking. Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half. Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.

6. Who needs sweets? For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie. Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

7. Liven up the party. Party games aren’t just for kids; adults can join in and help kids get up and moving. Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

8. Exercise as part of the family fun. Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes, and reusable water bottles.

9. Leftover luxury. Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews. The possibilities are endless.

10. Give to others. Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information, recipes, health tips, and educational ideas for kids and adults.

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