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Be selective during holidays

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Our first snowfall reminded me that the holidays are quickly approaching. Holidays bring joy, excitement and happiness. They also can bring anxiety, crabbiness and sugar-induced slowdowns. I see many individuals who work hard all year long to improve their eating and exercise habits, only to take a nosedive during November and December. Here are a few suggestions for truly enjoying the holiday season and the food, while keeping your body healthy and energized.

Make sleep a priority

Fatigue can interfere with healthy eating and exercise patterns. Anxiety and restlessness frequently set in over the holiday season. Do your best to get restful sleep. Use deep cleansing breaths while relaxing to help your brain slow down and nourish your muscles.

Be selective

Skip the chips, crackers and items you can have all year Watch portions, but give yourself permission to really enjoy the special holiday treats. One of my relatives makes a fabulous sweet potato casserole dish for Thanksgiving and I never miss it.

Engage in activity every day

Exercise helps maintain weight, reduce stress, increase energy and boost mood. Even 10 minutes a day of any type of exercise will do wonders this holiday season! 

Maintain a healthy eating schedule

Continue to eat a breakfast containing protein and fiber, pack your lunch and healthy snacks for the day, and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Try to keep your eating routine as normal as possible; especially on the days of parties and social get-togethers.

Drink water

Although it is chilly outside, our bodies continue to need plenty of water on a daily basis. Be careful with your intake of alcoholic beverages which add extra calories and dehydrate your body. Keep a favorite water bottle in sight at all times to remind you to drink enough water.

Hungry-licious Chicken Marsala

Recipe from Hungry Girl

1 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread

½ cup fat-free chicken broth

¼ cup marsala wine

1 tsp. cornstarch

1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms

Two 5-oz. raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½-inch thickness

¼ tsp. each salt and black pepper

¼ tsp. dried basil

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter for 10 seconds or until melted. In a medium bowl, whisk melted butter, broth, wine and cornstarch until cornstarch has dissolved. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Cook and stir mushrooms until softened, 5-7 minutes. Move mushrooms to the sides of the skillet. Season chicken with salt, pepper and basil, and lay in the center of the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring mushrooms occasionally. Flip chicken. Give broth mixture a stir and add to the skillet. Stirring mushrooms occasionally, cook until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve it and love it! 

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories, 4 g fat, 785 mg sodium, 8.5 g carbohydrate, .5 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 34.5 g protein. PointsPlus value 5.

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