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Healthy Holiday Tips

Enjoying time with family and friends over food and drink is one of the most enjoyable parts of the holidays. Tasting seasonal foods you don’t get all year round, indulging in decadent treats and relaxing by the fire make the holidays memorable. But for some, all this eating and relaxing can lead to some unwanted weight gain and possibly poorly managed medical conditions. How can you still enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and still feel great? Here are some easy and reasonable tips:

Burn Calories: Keep up your workout routine and if you are off work consider even adding in a few extra workouts during the week. Go for a snowshoe, hike in the woods or chop some firewood to burn a few extra calories. The more you burn the more flexibility you have with your food.

Eat Breakfast: Starving yourself in the morning will lead to excessive intake in the evening. You are better off having some fruit and protein at breakfast. Have fruit salad and Greek yogurt, apple and almond butter, egg, toast and an orange or oatmeal, berries and walnuts.

Don’t Break the Bank: When you go out you don’t need to go “all out”. Be moderate. Enjoy your favorite foods but be mindful of portions.

Office Goodies: Keep the tempting goodies out of sight and make the healthy ones more convenient. Cookie trays can be left in the fridge in the staff room and bowls of mandarin oranges can be left out on the counter and by the water cooler or coffee maker.

Party Free Days: On the days you don’t have a party or office luncheon, make particularly healthy choices.  Get a really great workout in, pack your lunch and cook at home for dinner. Eat loads of fruit and vegetables to make up for servings lost the day before.

Pleasure maximization: Choose to eat your favorite holiday foods and get the most pleasure out of them.  Enjoy every mouthful and don’t follow it up with guilt. Avoid the high calorie things you can have any time of year such as chips and chocolate.

Be Selective: Choose the foods you will “eat” like the salad or vegetables and fruit, prawns and salmon.  Choose the foods you will “sample” like the Christmas desert and the artichoke dip and then select the foods you will “skip” like the cheese, deep fried shrimp and spring rolls.

Be the Designated Driver: You get 140 kcal per glass of wine and 3 times that for a rum and eggnog.  Choosing to be the designated driver is further motivation to keep those alcohol calories down. Be mindful of the non-alcoholic alternatives such as pop and juice which carry just as many calories. Go for sparkling water or cranberry and soda.

Get Enough Sleep: Being tired often makes you think you are hungry when actually all you need is a nap.  Staying well rested over the holidays will also help you maintain a strong immune system.

Watch the nibbles: When cooking for guests chew sugar-free gum or keep a plate of cut veggies beside you while you are preparing the meal.

Limit the cheese: Go for high protein lean options such as prawn rings and smoked salmon rather than a chunk of 35% Milk-fat cheese.

Don’t sit near the food: Keep your conversation away from the appetizer table. Use a plate when you do eat and fill up on veggies and fruit, while enjoying just a few of your favorites.

Leftovers: Send them home with your guests. Particularly the desserts!

Hostess gifts: Consider giving candles and soap rather than chocolates this year. If you get chocolates you can always give them away.

Celebrate Success: Give yourself praise when you have made some great choices. Every day is a new day to start fresh. Remember it’s not all or none. 

All this being said, who wants to put a damper on the holidays? After all, it’s such a special time of year and you want to make it delicious too. Try to tweak the things you do to make them a tad better for you. Avoid the deep fried items, limit the full fat cheese, avoid the pate and salami. Be sure to add fruit and vegetables to your plate. Here are some other great ideas:

Healthy Holiday Appetizer Ideas:

  • Smoked salmon and tzatziki on cucumber rounds or whole grain baguette
  • Toasted nuts instead of chips (just watch the portions)
  • Pretzels and popcorn
  • Fruit pies instead of trifle
  • Egg white frittata instead of quiche with a crust
  • Veggies and hummus instead of ranch dip
  • Prawn ring with seafood sauce
  • Bruschetta (easy oil)
  • Sliced turkey and chicken wrapped around vegetable sticks
  • Prosciutto wrapped around steamed asparagus
  • Shrimp cocktail as a starter in a martini glass
  • Squash soup in espresso cups
Healthy Holiday Tips Healthy Holiday Tips Healthy Holiday Tips Healthy Holiday Tips