Tis the season for parties

Tis the season for parties, pastries and pies. Although the holiday season is comprised of much more than these luscious treats, they seem to play a large role, not pun intended, in not only our family gatherings, but around our waistline as well. Instead of becoming fearful of the plethora of sweet treats that come your way, tempting you to take another bite, lets take a moment to identify the health potential of these holiday staples, and how we can manage to enjoy them without adding girth around our midsection.

The staple pumpkin pie is one that has been around for decades, and a treasured holiday must in the majority of homes that celebrate the holidays. Pumpkin is a super food packed with fiber, vitamins A and C and is semi-sweet in flavor. Pumpkin is very satiating which means you will feel full only eating a few bites. When indulging in pumpkin pie this season, consider eating a smaller portion, then remember all the healthy benefits your body is gaining through this splurge.

If the dessert table is calling your name after your slice of pie, fill your plate with raw vegetables like celery, carrots and broccoli. Enjoy these light, fresh, filling and healthy alternatives to snacking over the calorie dense desserts from across the room. Enjoy these veggies in a light yogurt based dip or hummus to add flavor and texture as well. Don't restrict a dessert item, but limit yourself to one serving, then snack on healthier food items to keep the temptation at bay.

Pecan pie can be a monster when considering fat content, sugar quantities and other nutritionally challenging attributes, yet pecans in and of themselves are very advantageous to your health. Pecans are the only native American tree nut, and they have been a tasty favorite for centuries. Their rich content of antioxidants and healthy fats can support brain health, lower cholesterol and even help manage weight. Many recipes are available online that create a healthier alternative to the traditional pecan pie, but still utilizes pecans, eggs and natural sweeteners such as Stevia to keep dessert tasty and healthy.

Another key point to explain about holiday parties and feasts is the fact that you can indulge in eating larger quantities of food, but choose the healthier options of white meat from the turkey, salad, steamed vegetables and whole grain bread. If you are hosting the party, make sure these healthy options are available for easy access to you and those considering their health over the holidays. If you are asked to bring an item to the party, choose a healthy option that can be enjoyed by all without regret.

Finally, try to get out and enjoy your family and friends over the holiday season, and make the emphasis of the celebration about relationships and making memories, as opposed to food. Traditions and memories are so special during these winter months, so create experiences, games and endeavors that incorporate activity. This will make the holiday season all the more festive and all the healthier when managing your weight.