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Healthify Your Holidays Part Two

By Leah Okeson

Ah December….winter is here, along with the holidays. What does the holiday season mean to you? Christmas trees, twinkling lights, eggnog, snowfall, corny music, desserts, candlelight, presents, ham/turkey/insertotheranimalhere roasts? The thing is, some of these holiday season traditions are not good for the waistline, heart health, or longevity.

The holidays are definitely one of my favorite times of the year! Why? The smell of cinnamon, pine, fir, and cranberries in the air; the lights of our tree shining through the windows; the fun of Santa and secret surprises; and lighting our menorah for Hanukkah. Notice none of those have to do with food! The holidays can be embraced and celebrated without unhealthy food on the table and unhealthy pounds on the scale.

How, you ask? Easy! Stick to veggie courses (without butter and cream, THANK YOU), soups (same goes), small servings of nuts, fresh fruit, and lots of water. Water will help hydrate you from the cold weather, AND fill you up so you might eat less at meal times.

Speaking of meal times, eat at the same time every day and try not to eat too much between meals. Utilize other ways to celebrate, without food, like lighting candles, singing together, watching a movie, and/or playing a board game.

IF you stick to these tips, you might find you have a different New Year’s resolution this year. Maybe your resolution will be to follow me for more ways to healthi-fy your holidays! You can find me on Insta @Leahtheveganyogalover – see you next year!! 

Bonus recipe below for a handy dandy gift for all your friends and family! Mason jar soup is shelf-stable and good for up to a year. Wrap a pretty ribbon around the jar to personalize your gift. As always, let me know what you think of my column by reaching out to

You will need:

Broth powder

Dried rotini pasta

Dried rosemary

Dried tarragon

Dried sage

Four pint-sized jars with lids


Notecards (or you can use our printable version, here)


Place 3 TBSP of the broth powder in the jar, add ½ cup of the dried pasta, then a TSP of each of the dried herbs, now put the lid on the jar. Write the following on a notecard – Enjoy the enclosed soup by adding the entire contents of the jar to 2 cups of boiling water. Simmer for six minutes and enjoy. – Now tape the notecard to the front of the jar, and wrap a ribbon around the middle. Repeat for each jar and now you have four homemade gifts for your peeps! Yay!!

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