Quick Tips for the Holidays:
Your Personal Survival Guide!
Holidays don’t have to mean that healthy eating goes out the window, but they also don’t mean you have to completely stop enjoying the occasional treat that the season brings! Below are a few tips about how to make this next month work for you!
- Eat slowly and mindfully. It takes 20 minutes for our brain to get the message that we are full, which is hard when you are faced with a banquet of favorite foods. Remind yourself to slow down, enjoy and savor the flavor of the food whether sweet or savory. When we take time with our food, we tend to eat less, and we set our bodies up for a more optimal metabolism. So, enjoy Gramma’s pecan pie. When you do, you might not need more than one slice.
- Eat Balanced Meals throughout the day. It can be easy to “be good” all day in preparation for a big feast or holiday party. This often means not eating very much and consequently gorging oneself on everything set before you, including the napkins. Be sure to eat balanced meals throughout the day that include a source of fiber, fat and protein so you don’t wind up starving by the time that holiday soiree comes.
- Up your veggies. It may sound like old news, but many holiday feasts can be a big carb fest. Be sure to offer or bring fresh vegetables to have as an appetizer. The vitamins and minerals they provide can help replenish the nutrients that sugary and refined foods often deplete and can give you the energy to have a hearty conversation with kooky Uncle Frank.
- Try adding a vegetarian protein dish to your menu or bring one to your next Holiday event. Plant protein like beans and lentils not only offer a host of beneficial nutrients they contain a lot of fiber which helps you to fill up and reduce the likelihood of overeating. Skip the processed Tofurkey and try out a bean dip, a lentil soup or a spicy chili all of which provide heart health components to boot!
- Get creative with sweets! Your month does not have to be about candy canes and endless sweet pies. Molasses, dates, fresh fruit, dried fruit, roasted nuts, coconut can all serve as sweet snacks and dessert ingredients that are a step up from your basic sugar cookie. Roast nuts in an oven on 250 degrees for 20 minutes, stuff into dates and roll dates in coconut. Yum!
- Make drinks more festive and…add a little flair! Throw pomegranate juice or seeds into Seltzer. Make a Hot Chocolate with high quality cocoa, a milk alternative (almond milk is great), a touch of vanilla, and a sprinkle of maple syrup. If you like, add a dash of cinnamon or cayenne or a little orange zest for an extra kick! Spicy Chai Tea is always a winner especially for those of you who like a kick in your drink. It’s hard to go for seconds when your mouth is on fire.
- Keep up the exercise during this time. Even a brisk walk or two can be helpful for boosting metabolism and increasing energy, making the need for those quick go-to carb dishes we often turn to when we’re sluggish, a little less necessary.
- Take time for yourself. We can get pretty busy during this time which causes a lot of stress which can lead to less supportive dietary choices. Be sure to have a time out or two over the next month where you can relax, slow down and not be rushing. You’ll be amazed at the results.
- Make a goal for yourself this season or before you head out to the next holiday bash. What do you want from this holiday? How do you want to feel? How many glasses of eggnog do you want to keep to? How can you have a healthy and joyful next month?
Mary Purdy, (MS, RDN), integrative registered dietitian, is the host of the web series & podcast “Mary’s Nutrition Show” and author of the recently published book “Serving the Broccoli Gods.” She was in private practice for 8 years and spent 3 years as adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at Bastyr University. Currently, she works full time at Arivale where she has spent the last 3 years as a Coach and Clinical Education Lead providing nutrition and lifestyle counseling to clients using personalized genetic data and functional blood labs. She has presented at professional nutritional conferences, given over 100 nutrition workshops, been featured on KUOW and quoted in dozens of magazines including Prevention, Food and Nutrition and Today’s Dietitian. She loves all vegetables except zucchini and yellow squash which she avoids at all costs. Her website is http://marypurdy.co/ or you can hang out with her and her community at https://www.facebook.com/MaryPurdyRD/