Providing healthy eating options during the holidays

Use low-fat baking, reduce the sugar, manage portion sizes, use moderation and plan for leftovers. Many risk include diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. (Panhandle Extension Center)
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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. It may get a little challenging to eat healthy and exercise regularly during the holidays but our Panhandle Extension Center is providing tips to help.

Choose healthy cooking methods. Plan to cook foods in healthy ways: roast, steam, broil, grill, or bake.

Low-fat baking. Replace one-half of the oil in a recipe with unsweetened applesauce or ripe bananas in baked goods such as cranberry bread.

Reduce the sugar. Cut the sugar in recipes by half and use spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for added flavor.

Manage portion sizes. Use a small plate and scan buffet lines to make sensible selections before filling the plate.

Eat the food groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate is a healthy guide. Fill half the plate with colorful vegetables and fruits, one-fourth protein, and one-fourth grain. Choose whole grain whenever possible. Add low-fat dairy options. Keep overall good health in mind.

Be mindful. Eat slowly to enjoy your food and be aware of hunger and fullness cues.

Use moderation, especially when selecting those favorite foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat. Choose a small serving or make adjustments in other meals to compensate for the added treat.

Plan for leftovers. Use leftovers with added veggies to make sandwiches, an omelet or a frittata.

“Be mindful when we are eating and take that time to enjoy your food,” said Tammie Ostdiek, Food, Nutrition and Health Educator. “I think some of us kind of get in a hurry with our regular routine and holidays come along and get even faster paced.”

Initiate active holiday traditions. Involve the entire family in fun active games, dancing or going for walks.

Get your rest. Make a habit of going to bed and getting up about the same time every day, even during the holidays.

To get the kids involved, plan family activities. It encourages them when others are also involved.

Not getting enough exercise and eating unhealthy foods can lead to increased diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.