The holidays are officially upon us. That means holiday parties, feasts, cookies, candies and lots of eating and drinking. This can be an especially challenging time of year for most people when it comes to nutrition and self care.
Let’s be honest, holiday dinners don’t have to be the healthiest of meals, but there are certainly ways we can make them healthier.
Check out our 10 Holiday Nutrition Tips below for ways to make your holiday season healthier!
1 – Don’t skip breakfast
You’ll be more likely to overeat at dinner if you haven’t eaten all day. Opt for a smaller, protein-packed breakfast to hold you over – like a veggie-filled Frittata with toast.
2 – Practice eating intuitively
Whether it’s a holiday party, simple dinner at home with the family or a big holiday feast, listen to your body. Nothing needs to be off limits, but make eating choices that honor your body, health and taste buds.
3 – Fill up on veggies first
Fill up your plate with vegetables first. Vegetables have fiber—filling you faster and giving you lots of quality nutrients! Add veggies into dishes – fill your stuffing with carrots, celery, onions, garlic and leeks, sub half your potatoes for cauliflower when making mashed potatoes. And add our Roasted Carrots or Moroccan Fall Salad for a delicious vegetable-based side dish.
4 – Stay hydrated
Drink water. Alcohol and other sweetened beverages can add calories without making you feel full. Dehydration can also cause you to eat more. This is not because your brain is confusing hunger and fullness, but because your body is looking for fluid from somewhere and it can get some from food. Drinking water can help avoid this issue, and fills up your stomach so you feel full faster.
5 – Rethink your flavors
Although butter and cream certainly add flavor, there are many other ways to add deliciousness without the extra calories. Use herbs and spices! Season your ham or turkey with thyme and rosemary, add cinnamon and nutmeg to your sweet potatoes, and use fresh chives and roasted garlic in your mashed potatoes. Using herbs and spices can add depth of flavor to your dishes.
6 – Start with smaller portions
As my parents always said, you can always get more later.
Rather than loading up your plate as a balancing act, start with one plate with a little of what you want and get more if you’re still hungry. This will help reduce food waste and it’s always easier to get more than it is to put food back.
7 – Focus on family, friends and good conversation
Savor the food and pay more attention to the company and conversation instead of obsessing about what you ate. Also, go slow and listen to your body. It’s normal to overeat sometimes, but just make sure to tune in with your body and respond accordingly.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t stress about eating “perfectly” during the holidays. Enjoy the food while keeping in mind how much you’re eating. Nothing needs to be off limits. Practice mindfulness and pay attention to how your body feels. Choose your favorites. Eat slowly. Enjoy every bite!
8 – Get in some activity
Not with a mindset of burning calories, but simply to keep moving on a typically static day. Go for a walk, play flag football, take the kids to the park. Whether you get a workout in before dinner or go for a casual evening walk, aim to move your body at least a little each day. Pick activities that you enjoy and move because it feels good!
9 – Go easy on the alcohol
It’s easy to overdo it in the spirit of celebration, but it’s important to drink alcohol in moderation (1 drink a day for women and 2 for men) – even during the holidays. If you’re hosting, offer some non-alcoholic beverages too – like carbonated water, homemade ginger beer, kombucha or flavored water.
10 – Be Healthy and Happy!
Think about what makes your body feel good and what makes your taste buds happy.
Prioritize your treats – what are your favorites and what are the ones you could forgo? I’m not about to skip the pumpkin pie, but the chips I can easily go without.
Remember, one day isn’t going to make or break anything – it’s about what we do consistently. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.