Enjoy some heart-healthy holiday eating

A cast iron pan filled with spiral pasta, tomatoes, broccoli and fresh herbs.

Dec. 24, 2018—The holidays can be both heart-warming and heart-healthy. These suggestions from the American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can help you enjoy holiday treats without ignoring the health of your heart:

Don't deprive yourself. You'll only sour yourself on the idea of healthful eating. Strive for moderation instead.

A pie with one slice missing and a fork. A plain white cartoon face wells up with tears. Text reads: It’s so beautiful.

Choose carefully. Turkey is relatively low in saturated fat, but duck and goose aren't. If you'd like to have multiple meats, take sample portions of each one.

A roast turkey garnished with fresh herbs, side dishes in the background. A little stick figure stands on the turkey leg and plants a flag. Text reads: I declare this turkey healthy and delicious!

Wait 10 minutes before eating dessert or having seconds. You may find that you're not hungry after waiting a little bit.

Caramel apples rest on a tray, some covered in nuts. Text reads: Take a break before you partake.

If you're doing the cooking, find ways to make recipes more heart-friendly:

A red cartoon heart smiles and waves. Text reads: 5 cooking tips that will make your heart happy. 1. Substitute oil or soft margarine for butter. 2. Replace full-fat sour cream with a fat-free version—or fat-free yogurt. 3. Substitute low-fat or fat-free milk for whole milk or cream. 4. Saut√© with nonstick vegetable spray, water, broth or a small amount of canola oil. 5. Use whole-grain bread and lots of fruits and vegetables to make your stuffing.

At holiday gatherings, focus on conversations instead of food.

A family sits around the table smiling and talking. Text reads: More of this. A king in a crown sits at a banquet table, gnawing on a piece of meat. Text reads: Less of this.

At holiday buffets, choose a small plate to put your food on, and limit your trips to the buffet table.

A table full of plates of food with whimsical utensils drawn in white.

Besides paying attention to what you eat, try to make physical activity a part of your holiday traditions too. Take family walks after holiday meals, or play games outside.

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