Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
Don’t let the holidays put your health in disarray. Use this tip sheet to keep off unwanted pounds, knock out pain conditions, and have a more pleasant holiday season.
The holidays can be stressful, if not horrific for your health. Increased stress about money, depression about family (or lack thereof), and weight gain from hearty and sweet foods can heighten the pain of many conditions. There are things you can do to avoid the negative effects of the season, and you may end up feeling even healthier in the end.
Strike a lighter note with your holiday fair
It’s no surprise that your Christmas dinner is loaded with saturated fats, carbs and high amounts of sugar and sodium, but there are ways to avoid the bad and increase the good. First, plan a meal that has fewer dishes. You may be tempted to sample everything in the buffet line, leading to an overpiled plate of despair. Fewer choices will likely lead to a smaller plate.
When preparing these foods, try replacing butter with light margarine, sugar with Splenda, and heavy stocks with unsalted broths. Alter recipes or find new ones to keep your family healthier, and don’t be afraid to put a new spin on a traditional dish. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into the meal, as well, to make sure you are absorbing essential nutrients. Don’t forget the cranberries! They are high in antioxidants and vitamins, and can be conveniently added to many of the recipes on your table.
Portion Control is Key
Whether you are eating at someone else’s home or eating out this year, make conscious choices in your food selections. Portion control is key. Take only one scoop of candied yams or stuffing, instead of three or four, and if you simply can’t resist that slice of pumpkin pie, at least forego the whipped cream.
Holiday meals may be high in fats, sugars, and carbs, but there are many healthy choices available at most Christmas buffet tables. Look for unsugared cranberries, turkey (minus the gravy), sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables.
It can be challenging to avoid cookies and candy over the holidays, as well. If you are the baker or candy maker, sometimes it’s hard to shake tradition. Try making less of these delicacies, or give some of them away as presents, to avoid having them sit on your counter. The more you look at them, the more you are likely to eat them. Perhaps you can plan your recipes to include less sugar, butter and heavy cream than you would normally use. If these foods are gifted to you, share them with others to prevent the urge of eating the entire bag yourself.
Other Healthy Eating Tips
One other tactic to consider is eating several small meals throughout the day, rather than waiting for that huge gorge fest. By eating 4 to 6 small snack sized meals, your metabolism works constantly throughout the day, and doesn’t need to be jump started when a large flood of carbs and fats hits your belly all at once.