Keep Holiday Pounds Away With Sensible Eating

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  • Santa's a jolly individual that is loved by all, but most people would not love having as many extra pounds as him.

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  • This pear tart would be a great addition to a holiday buffet and has fewer calories than a pear or apple pie.

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  • Gingerbread muffins made with whole wheat flour have more nutrition than gingerbread cookies.

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  • Mashed sweet potatoes offer more vitamins and minerals than traditional mashed white potatoes. Consider swapping them out this year for Christmas dinner.

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When one thinks about holiday parties, platters filled with gingerbread cookies, thumbprint cookies, and candy canes come to mind. But it’s important to avoid indulging in too many of those tempting sweets. The Associated Press states that an average person gains 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day due to the higher calorie foods that are a part of our celebrations. Even though we admire Jolly Old St. Nick and anticipate his arrival each Christmas Eve, most individuals don’t want the same amount of extra pounds that he has.

SCHS students acknowledge eating well during the holidays can be a challenge.  “There are just so many good foods that it’s hard to resist,” junior Julianna Boll shared. Senior Chase Centers agreed, especially after he reflected on what was typically served during the holiday gathers he attended.  “There are not that many healthy Christmas foods; it’s difficult to not overeat on the unhealthy stuff like cookies and eggnog, because they taste so good.”

Even though it’s tempting to fill your plate with stuffing, oven roasted turkey, hot rolls and apple pie, it is necessary to make sure you are fueling your body with the necessary vitamins and nutrients that often are not found in these holiday dishes.  So while enjoying treats during the holiday season, focus on making sure your body is thriving as well by focusing on better nutrition. Here are four main tips to help you maintain a healthy diet throughout the the holidays that could also help you jumpstart your diet goals for the new year


Health studies show teenagers need 25 grams of fiber per day. When sitting at the table, eat your vegetables first. This is essential when there are so many other items on your plate. More than likely you won’t be able to finish all of the options, so with getting vegetables out of the way, you are guaranteed to intake the right amount of minerals.2


When consuming food, the majority of food on your plate should be grains (6 full servings are recommended daily), followed by 5 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of fruit, and 3 servings of poultry and dairy products. Only 70 grams fats and oils are needed daily, so be sure to monitor the amount of dessert eaten.


Strive to incorporate as much water as you can into your meal. Water is essential for your body to control calories, energize muscles, help your kidneys, maintain normal bowel functions, and so much more! If water is not your chosen beverage, try adding in ginger or a splash of fruit juice for extra flavor.


Incorporate smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 main meals; this way you won’t stay as hungry and your blood sugar will be controlled.

Fight Extra Pounds With Revamped Recipes

Along with eating tips, here are some nutritious options for yummy holiday snacks! These recipes have all the flavor of the traditional holiday treats, but they have been revamped to make sure that they are a little easier on our waistlines. If these dishes are eaten in moderation, one is still able to enjoy holiday flavors all of December without worrying about excessive sugars and calories.

Instead of gingerbread cookies, substitute Healthy Gingerbread Muffins. These muffins have much less molasses than regular cookies, and do not contain butter or frosting. The addition of whole wheat flour adds more fiber, which helps keep one full longer.  



  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger paste (sub 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • turbinado sugar for topping


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Melt the coconut oil so it’s in liquid form. In a small bowl, whisk the liquid coconut oil with the molasses.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, sour cream, milk, and ginger. Let the mixture come to room temperature so that you can easily add the the coconut oil (30-40 seconds in the microwave is fine if you’re
  • rushed). When it’s at room temperature, add the coconut oil and molasses from step one. The coconut oil should stay liquified.
  • Add the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir a few times until just combined. Scoop into a muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the tops are puffy and firm to the touch. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

As an alternate of cakes, try Pear-Almond Tarts. This delicious dessert contains much less sugar, salt, and baking powder than a normal cake. It also includes two full pears and nuts for a great source of protein.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 12 wedges each
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mist a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice and brown sugar.

In a food processor, pulse together the almonds and granulated sugar until mixture is light and fluffy; add flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and lemon zest and slice in the butter. Pulse until the mixture just begins to come together.

Turn the dough into the pan and press it over the bottom. Arrange the pears over dough in a circular pattern. Brush the fruit with a teaspoon of the brown sugar and lemon juice mixture remaining in the bowl, reserving any leftover liquid.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until dough is puffy and golden brown. Brush fruit with brown sugar and lemon juice mixture after 40 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan before serving.

In place of regular mashed potatoes, try Pressure Cooker Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes. This side contains water instead of milk and coconut butter instead of traditional.


  • 5 large sweet potatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut butter


Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into approximately 1-inch chunks. Add the chunks to the bowl of a pressure cooker. Add the salt, thyme, and cinnamon to the sweet potatoes and toss to combine. Pour in the water and lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook the sweet potatoes on high pressure for 8 minutes and quick-release the pressure.Add the maple syrup and ghee or coconut butter to the potatoes and use a spatula to mix together. Mash the potatoes using the spatula and serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat on the stovetop with about ¼ cup of almond milk to add extra creaminess.