12 Healthy Days of Christmas

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On the first day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, a plate of Christmas cookies
Regarding the cookies, don’t be a martyr, go ahead and have one then put the rest in the freezer for an event where you can share them.

On the second day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, two cups of eggnog
 Really, two? Only drink one and pour the other into the poinsettia when no one is looking. There is low fat eggnog, by the way, and if you add a little rum it’s not half bad.

On the third day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, three Russian Tea Cakes
 Also known as butterballs or snowballs. They are little butter, flour, and nut cookies coated in powdered sugar. Can anything called a butterball actually be good for you? If you really like them, go ahead, but take a spin class afterwards.

On the fourth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, four slices of turkey
Now we’re talking! Turkey breast is one of the best things to happen to the holidays. The white meat is low fat, full of protein, and has the added benefit of tryptophan to help you manage the stress of the season. Indulge. 

On the fifth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, hot buttered rum
Hot buttered rum is made with rum, water or cider, and spices, all heated and topped with a dollop of butter. Some people mix in melted vanilla ice-cream. It does sound delicious, however, my suggestion is to check my friend Teresa’s site for lower calorie martini ideas. She wrote the original Skinnytini recipe book.

On the sixth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, six pieces of fruitcake
I figured this was not unlike laying an egg (six geese a laying). No one eats fruitcakes. I hear they make great doorstops.

On the seventh day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, seven dumplings and chicken
This is a favorite in the South during the holidays because it is such a nice, warm treat on a cold night. The dumplings themselves aren’t the healthiest since they are made with white flour. I have tried making whole grain dumplings in the past but wasn’t successful. If you focus on the meat, chicken stock, and vegetable part of the dish and go easy on the actual dumplings (seven between your family members, not all to yourself!) it’s a good seasonal meal.

On the eighth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, eight pumpkin pies
I know that you wouldn’t eat eight pumpkin pies, but the song requires that we now move into ridiculous numbers, so bear with me. Pumpkin pie is one of the healthier choices for holiday treats, especially if you replace the dairy with coconut or almond milk. There are some really good recipes online for healthier versions and pumpkin itself is good for you. My hot tip here is, don’t eat the crust. That’s where the bulk of the fat is hidden.

On the ninth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, nine ladies dancing
Don’t give up on your exercise during the holidays! I know you’re busy but find your Zumba Momma friends and dance the night away. It’ll help with the extra indulgences.

On the tenth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, ten gingerbread men
These are lots of fun to make with your children or grandchildren. Making them with the kids will make them a very low calorie food too. You will have no desire to eat them after watching what the kiddos do to them.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, eleven candy canes
There are 55 calories in an average sized candy cane. You tend to eat them slowly and the minty taste overwhelms your taste buds to help you stop feasting on all the other tempting things available. Or, you could just brush your teeth.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my neighbor gave to me, twelve mixed nuts
Many nuts fall into the super foods category. They are very healthful for you and because of their fat and protein content they can actually satisfy your hunger and maintain your blood sugar level for an extended period of time. They are very high calorie though, so a little goes a long way. 12 would be just about right. 

Greta Boris is the author of The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Eat, Drink, and Lose Weight. She was a weight management consultant and personal trainer for many years and now writes about the things women care about: how to look good, feel good and be good. Find her at Fitness Inside Out and Vanity Network Magazine. Sign up for her FREE ebook, 7 Ways Your Brain Can Make You More Beautiful! 

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12 Healthy Days of Christmas
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