Eating healthy can seem almost impossible during the holiday season! We all tend to eat a bit more, and exercise a bit less at this time of year. But you can fix healthier meals that everyone will love, just by making a few simple substitutions.

This holiday season, instead of feeling bad about making and eating your favorite holiday dishes, how about taking those traditional recipes and modify them to start some new family traditions. With some simple substitutions, you can bump up the nutritional value while reducing fat, calories and sodium. And your guests will never know! In fact, they might even like it better!

Try these tips for making holiday meals a bit healthier:

Flour. Try substituting whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour in baked goods like cakes, muffins and cookies. This increases their nutritional value. Whole grains provide lots of nutrients like fiber, B vitamins and essential minerals.

Cream. Top off holiday pies with a dab of frozen yogurt instead of whipped cream or ice cream. When recipes call for sour cream, try using plain, low fat yogurt instead. Yogurt is lower in fat and calories than either whipped cream or sour cream.

Seasoned salt. When a recipe calls for seasoned salt (like garlic salt, celery salt, or onion salt), use the herb by itself instead (garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes). Even better, try using freshly chopped herbs. They have a lot more flavor without any of the added salt.

Eggs. When baking, try using cholesterol free egg substitute instead of eggs. One egg can have 213 mg of cholesterol, almost all of it in the yolk.

Sugar. Where you can, cut the amount of sugar in recipes or substitute cinnamon. We usually fix yams with apples for the holidays. This year, we made them with half the sugar and added cinnamon. Everybody raved about how good they were.

Start your own holiday traditions by cutting fat, sodium and calories from those recipes that you enjoy. Most people won’t even notice the difference!

Obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol don’t happen overnight! Remember that every day healthy choices can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?

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