Holiday food can inspire overindulging if you decide to put your mindset in that kind of mood. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want you to feel deprived, or eat only boring foods during the most wonderful time of the year. Celebrations may keep the cold winter away, but sweet treats, Christmas food, and rich meals can tax the health and strain the waistline.
Substituting unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas for butter in desserts, whole wheat flour for white flour, plain low-fat yogurt for sour cream in baking recipes or in sauces; as well as reducing sugar intake and including more fruits and vegetables can help you achieve nutritional balance during the holiday season while enhancing the enjoyment of Christmas feasts.
We have eight easy tips that will guide you in establishing mindful and intuitive eating skills that will make the holiday treats/meals even healthier.
1. FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE
Try to eat 80% clean, rich in vitamins and minerals food, and allow 20% of the rest you consume to be indulgent. This way you will reduce the poor eating decisions to a minimum, and set a reasonable guideline for eating healthy without feeling deprived of the Christmas treats.
2. START WITH SOUP
Sipping soup before lunch can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later. Stick with veggie soups though, they will help you obtain a variety of nutrients and the many health-promoting compounds found in vegetables in one bowl.
3. FILL UP ON REAL FOOD FIRST
At a holiday party fill your plate with nourishing foods first. Save the indulging choices for later. Chances are, after filling up on veggies, fruits, green salads, and fish, you won’t be so hungry anymore.
4. GO MEATLESS FOR ONE MEAL A DAY
Focus on plant-based food that can help lowering blood cholesterol levels while promoting blood sugar control for at least one meal a day. You don’t have to entirely give up on your burger, just go for a black bean or quinoa option instead of a beef patty.
5. ADD COLOR WITH YOUR SIDES
Go for vegetable side dishes using fresh, seasonal products. Skip mashed potatoes with butter and heavy cream. Here’s what you can do instead: Roast whatever veggies you might have on hand until they’re caramelized, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you have a healthy side dish to fill up on.
6. BEVERAGES CAN BE TRICKY
When you get to the party, beware that both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories, carbs, and sugar. Start off with low-calorie, non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling water or fruit juices, and continue with wine spritzer throughout the evening. This is the best way to slow alcohol consumption and reduce sugar intake.
7. GET YOUR WALK ON
Walking is one of the healthiest habits that can help make up for eating more than usual. Only a 15-minute walk after a big meal can help ease digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition to walking, consider incorporating winter physical activities, organize ice skating or hiking with your family, go indoor climbing or swimming with friends.
8. LOSE THE GUILT
Yes, this article is about making it through the holiday feast season without overdoing it, but try not to get too anxious about it. Stressing so much means missing out on the festive fun when it’s actually time for celebration and relaxation.
The best you can do is try to get back to your healthy routine as soon as you possibly can.