Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Cooking from — and for — the heart this holiday season

December 1, 2020

Make some simple swaps to lighten up traditional fare. But feel free to enjoy small servings of favorite treats, too.


'Tis the season to be jolly — and to indulge in favorite holiday foods and beverages. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve are often full of opportunities to feast on foods high in fat and sugar. The average American packs on an extra pound of weight every year, and at least half of that is gained over the holiday season, according to several studies.

To help curtail that trend, which will help your heart as well as your waistline, try some of the alternative or lighter versions of foods and drinks traditionally served during the December holidays, described below. But there's no need to deprive yourself of special favorites that you have just once a year. "You can weave them in with healthier options," says Liz Moore, a dietitian at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.