Ok….I have to go there. No one wants to hear about how to eat healthy during the holidays. Seriously, isn’t that what the holidays are all about….gatherings, celebrations, all centered around good food? I know Thanksgiving in particular, is the one time of the year when we can feast. That is true.
The good news is that we can still feast without sacrificing our health goals!
For some, it is very important to manage health conditions such as keeping a target blood sugar range or a good blood pressure so you’re not feeling crummy at the end of the day or the next day.
Tips for healthy holiday eating:
Fill up on lean protein and non- starchy vegetables. Turkey is a lean protein which means it is ok to get seconds. Non- starchy vegetables are also low in calories (when not cooked in fat) and have very little carbohydrates which will not spike the blood sugar. Non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, collards, cabbage, okra, or squash should be the go to at holiday gatherings. Choose fresh herbs to season vegetables and other foods instead of salt.
Plan ahead. Eating healthy during the holidays requires a little bit of planning. For example, choose a low calorie breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It is not the time to fill up on pancakes and syrup (sigh). Also, do not skip breakfast. It is important to not skip a meal to avoid overating at the next meal. Desserts are a must, so plan ahead for them by eating smaller portions of other heavy carbohydrates such as mac/cheese, rice and potatoes.
Move! While food is a central point of our holiday gatherings, don’t forget the other F’s….family, friends and fun. Get everyone together and go for a walk either before or after you eat. Choose activities that will get every one moving and involved.
Enjoy every bite. Eat mindfully by not eating fast. Create a plate that appeals to the eye and enjoy every single bite.
Get back on track. Even if you don’t meet your health goal at a holiday gathering, remember there is always tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up….start again the next day.