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Chef Eric Greenspan Dishes on How to Build Healthy Habits During the Holiday Season

Each January, we like to start things off by writing out a well-intentioned list of resolutions for the new year. But really, what’s stopping us from starting now?

WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, has released a cookbook in collaboration with Chef Eric Greenspan, the “King of Comfort Food,” to nourish our bodies this holiday season. WW Healthy Kitchen Cook Up Comfort ($19.95, WW) features 160 WW Freestyle recipes that are a healthier spin on traditional holiday comfort foods, and it’s the perfect last-minute Christmas gift for someone who wants to make healthier lifestyle changes — or someone who just likes good food. Chef Greenspan spoke to to share his top tips for developing wholesome habits.

1. Strike the right balance.

“The WW program is built for a guy like me: I eat for a living. In my restaurants, I have healthy options and I have more decadent options, shall we say. Freestyle has allowed me to balance the two of them, and it allows me to eat the foods that I love, and frankly, eat the foods that I have to eat for my job and still be able to balance it with other healthy choices,” Greenspan, who’s lost 50 pounds on WW, tells

Whether your goal in the new year is to lose weight or just eat healthier, it’s helpful to stop restricting yourself from certain food options. Instead of telling yourself, “No, you can’t eat this,” tell yourself, “Let’s have a small serving of those melting potatoes and follow it with something healthier.”

2. Find a community that supports you.

“Everybody has such a love for food and support for each other,” Greenspan tells of the WW community. “A lot of tips that are in this book that I’m getting credit for, frankly, have come from using the connect app [WW’s forum for members] and reaching out to people in the community and hearing and meeting those people and getting ideas from them about what they do.”

Your friends and family know what you’re going through, and their support is instrumental. Whether that means watching the kids while you go to the gym, avoiding bringing junk food home, or being a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, your friends and family can and should help.

And if the people around you aren’t the best at encouraging and supporting you through this journey, know that there are thousands of online communities where you can go for advice.

3. Think of healthy eating as a lifestyle change.

“It’s not about ‘I’m reaching a goal and then I’m going to stop and go back.’ It’s about reshaping how you live… If you’re going to eat that grilled cheese, great, enjoy it, relish it! And then also enjoy the other dishes that bring you balance.”

When it comes to healthy eating, reframe your thinking so it’s less about what you can and can’t eat and more about how you truly love what you’re eating. If you’re able to create healthy recipes that taste delicious, you’ll never feel anything is off-limits. Plus, it’s a foolproof method to getting the nutrients you need to thrive. 

So, stop dreading that upcoming Christmas party. If you’re worried about losing your mind at the dessert table, remember that it’s OK to give in to cravings. Just keep Greenspan’s tips in mind and try to find some veggies.

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