Mass General Cancer Center clinical nutritionists Alicia Anskis and Carol Sullivan provide some healthy eating tips for this holiday season.

Make vegetables the main portion of a dish, not just the garnish.

  • Many seasonal veggies are popular during the holidays, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash and mushrooms.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon to cooked veggies to up the flavor and limit the amount of salt you need.
  • Try a whole grain and legume stuffed butternut squash, or roast a whole head of cauliflower with herbs and seasonings.

Flavor your meals with herbs and spices.

  • Be very liberal with adding herbs and spices to you dishes to help reduce the amount of salt, sugar, butter, and sauces usually needed to flavor meals, which drive up the calorie total.
    • Rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove and citrus are all fantastic festive seasonings.

Be mindful of the booze.

  • Skip the sugary stuff.
    • Avoid sugary mixers and syrups. Use club soda to mix and garnish with fresh fruit for added flavor.
    • Keep it simple – wine, light beer, clear liquor, champagne or sparkling wine.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages to 2 drinks for men and 1 for women.
    • 1 drink = 12 oz beer, 5oz wine, 1.5 oz hard alcohol

Do not skip meals leading up to a holiday meal.

Gingerbread Granola
Gingerbread Granola
  • Skipping meals can leave you feeling very hungry by the time you sit down for your holiday meal. This will make it very difficult to practice mindful eating and usually leads to over-indulging. Instead of skipping, aim to have a balanced breakfast including a lean protein paired with complex carbohydrates such as plain Greek yogurt with granola and fruit, or a veggie omelet with whole grain toast.
    (View our recipe for Gingerbread Granola)

Don’t make too much.

  • Large gatherings may not be in the cards this year for many due to COVID-19. So if you’re unable to celebrate with your usual group, consider cutting your ingredients by half so that you don’t make too much food. Or, if you still want to cook as usual, freeze half to have on hand for easily prepared meals.

Practice food safety guidelines per CDC recommendations.

  • Visit here to learn more.