The holidays can be tough on our waistline. Health experts say that the average American gains from ten to twelve pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. For older adults with a health condition like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, that amount of weight gain can spell trouble.

party food

How can you enjoy the season’s festivities without packing on the pounds?

Here are few tips to help you separate foods that are naughty from those that are nice:

  • Choose lean poultry and seafood over beef when you have a choice of entrees.
  • Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and a great alternative to fat laden mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • Cranberries are a power food rich in antioxidants and fiber.
  • Always go for the leafy greens like spinach, romaine and kale. They are full of fiber and vitamins ranging from A – K.
  • Pumpkin pie is a much better choice for dessert than pecan pie in terms of fat, fiber and vitamin A.
  • Wines and wine spritzers are much better than drinks made with liqueurs.
  • Skip the eggnog and spiced cider and instead order hot cocoa.
  • If you are heading for the fresh vegies, choose hummus to dip them in not ranch or dill dips that are usually made with sour cream.
  • If you can’t resist the bowl of nuts, choose almonds, cashews, pistachios or walnuts over pecans and macadamia nuts.

Also make sure that you don’t overlook the basics of a healthy lifestyle just because you are busy enjoying the holiday season. It is a dangerous mistake older adults often make. Be sure you remember to:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week
  • Take your blood pressure as often as recommended by your physician
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Monitor blood-sugar levels as directed
  • Take all medications as prescribed

What is the hardest healthy lifestyle choice for you to maintain during the holidays? Is it food selections? Exercise? Monitoring blood pressure or blood-sugar?

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