As we come together with family and friends this winter season, we must be mindful of the many holiday temptations that offer little nutritional value and add on extra calories. Attending a holiday party doesn’t mean your heart healthy decisions should take a back seat.  It’s important to keep in mind healthy eating choices as holiday events are often full of delicious dishes and desserts. You can avoid the temptations by being mindful and by making healthy choices from what is available. Eating healthy during the holiday can be challenging, but can be easier to navigate with these helpful tips:
- Identify prepared meals and dishes that incorporate lots of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, skinless poultry, and fat-free dairy products. Try to avoid dishes prepared with a lot of salt, fats, and added sugars. Breads and rolls, poultry, and canned soups are three common foods that can add sodium to your diet. If you’re unsure of what dishes contain certain ingredients, bring heart-healthy alternatives for yourself and for your loved ones to enjoy, or fill up on more nutritious foods before you arrive. 
- Eating reasonable portions is an easy way to watch your calorie intake. Be conscious of how much you put on your plate, and pass on that second helping. Use a smaller plate for portion control, and if portions are on the larger side, share some with a date or a friend. From appetizers to entrees, most dishes are easily shareable and you’ll end up feeling better after. 
- Stay hydrated with water and pace yourself throughout holiday events. If you are still hungry after your first serving, try to wait 20 minutes, have a glass of water, and check in with your body before going for seconds.  Cut calories by drinking non-alcoholic beverages, and substituting heavy crème drinks for low-fat or skim alternatives. We recommend adding sparkling seltzer water to cranberry or pomegranate juice for a festive, low-calorie drink!
For heart-healthy recipes, eating tips, and more visit heart.org/healthyeating.