This time of year can be overwhelming, so I’ve prepared a helpful checklist to take the stress, potential weight gain and guilt out and replace it with a plan to make it a grateful, healthy and blessed Holiday Season.

Food and Fitness

Survey all the food choices and skip the stuff you can eat anytime of the year. Save your calories for your holiday favorites and enjoy every bite!

Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

No food guilt! Skip the self-berating talk and all or nothing thinking. Choose balance and grace.

Make your “me” time a priority. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Take care of yourself.

Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables with hummus or a handful of raw nuts to curb your appetite. This will prevent you from overindulging, because no one makes good food choices when they’re starving. #hangry

Savor each bite, eat slowly and just until you are satisfied, not stuffed.

If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes and additional 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) to gain a pound; this strategy will help balance out your calories and keep the pounds off.

Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.

*Check out my Healthy Holiday Tips on HIS Radio:

Cooking Tips: All the flavor without all the calories. Double win!

Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden the fat. Skim the fat off and reheat.

Dressing — Exchange bread for cornbread, rice or oats and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables or fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.

Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with olive and oil and spices and top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.

Mashed Potatoes — Use skim milk, chicken broth, and garlic instead of whole milk and butter.

Healthy Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg until smooth. Top with nutmeg.

Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of frosting.

Faith and Family

Focus on Fellowship Rather Than Food

This may be the only chance you have to see a lot of your family members. Try to make the very most of this time. Say the things you might never have another chance to and let them know how much they mean to you.

Serve and Help in Your Community

There is nothing that will fill your heart like knowing you’ve truly helped another person. This can be a big or small act. Here are just a few ideas: buy food for a struggling family, participate in serving food at Church or a shelter, or invite a lonely neighbor over who doesn’t have any family.

Make Family Memories

Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends like playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.

From my family to yours, prayers for a crazy blessed and healthy Thanksgiving,