Everyone, even health-promoting people like dietitians and doctors, loves holiday foods. Whether it’s the rich, cheesy appetizers or the melt in your mouth cookies, we all have a favorite or two. So how do we enjoy ourselves without falling off our health management efforts? Below are a few ideas from our expert Wellview team.
- Prioritize indulgences. Think about all those cookies and all those dips that you only have available for 1 month a year. Which of these have you been looking forward to eating all year? And which are you putting on your plate just because they’re there? (I’m looking at you, oatmeal raisin cookie.) Choose the indulgences that you know you will really love, and avoid eating the other less healthy options just because you can.
- Additionally, prioritize the healthy stuff. What goals have you been working on lately with your health advisor or dietitian? More vegetables and water, or maybe less fatty meats or sodas. Going into a holiday party or meal, choose at least 1 healthy thing you want to accomplish so you can still give yourself a checkmark on that day for achieving your goal.
- Make healthy swaps… when possible. As far as I’m concerned, there truly is no perfect fat-free or vegan substitution for something like cheese or butter. Those are hard ingredients to take out in something like mashed potatoes. But do we think maybe we can cut half the potatoes in that dish with mashed cauliflower? We’re not entirely changing the recipe, but we’re making doable swaps that can help us control our calorie amount a bit more. Think of ways you can reduce the amount of cheese that goes into a casserole, or maybe how much sugar goes into the apple pie.
- Get moving! It doesn’t have to be a 3-mile turkey trot run, or a gym class at 5AM on Christmas morning, but any kind of movement that makes you feel good is encouraged. Especially after a big meal, it can help with digestion, keep us from mindlessly picking at the food still on the table, and connect us with other people from the gathering that we may not have had a lot of time with yet.
- Don’t “save up” for the big meal. It may be tempting—or even just seem to make sense—to not eat anything until the holiday gathering begins. However, if we starve all day, we’re going to have a lot less control when we can finally eat. In the morning, have a balanced breakfast like eggs with vegetables and a fruit (enough carbs to energize you), with the staying power of protein to last you until it’s time to eat again.
- Focus on what matters most. Yes, we want to stay healthy year-round and continue working towards our goals. But if we get a handful of days each year to enjoy ourselves and celebrate the reason for the holiday with people we love, it’s ultimately healthier to release stress about being perfect and focus on the joyous components of a holiday gathering. Your Wellview providers will be here to help you stay / get you back on track right away!
Check out this handy healthy Holiday eating guide that includes delicious recipes and tips for those with diabetes.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– Samantha Marks, RD, LDN