Many people find the holidays both amazing and guilt-ridden. With so many delicious options for comfort food, it’s not as tough as you might think to find food that’s both fulfilling and nourishing. Believe it or not, there is a way to enjoy delicious food while remaining health conscious. It is all about balance and having a plan in place. Follow these seven tips for eating like a nutritionist this holiday season.
Say yes to vegetables
If you are making the holiday meal, be sure to incorporate veggies into your meal prep. If you are a guest, bring some non-starchy veggie dishes. There are plenty of delicious online recipes at your disposal. Just browse this recipe gallery from the Food Network! Another health trick is to eat a serving or two of veggies before starting the mashed potatoes, turkey or stuffing. This ensures you are getting your dose of veggies before getting full.
Eating slowly allows your brain to recognize you are full. It is the key to avoid overeating and going back for second servings. We all get excited when we set our sights on a delicious holiday spread. But make sure to take your time and savor each bite in order to stop when you are full.
Don’t skip meals
Like any other day, it is important to eat all your meals during the holidays. Not doing so will result in a slowed metabolism and overeating. Instead of opting to skip meals, instead make a festive, healthy breakfast when you can and opt for a no-stress, light lunch.
Reserve your plate for foods you love
At a holiday dinner, we tend to fill our plate with everything available. But it’s okay to be picky. If you are indifferent about a particular holiday food, don’t feel the pressure to eat it. Don’t take up space on your plate with foods you don’t love, and avoid the temptation to fill in every available space with food!
Be aware of holiday beverages
Don’t forget that beverages are full of calories too. Eggnog, for example, has a whopping 21 grams of sugar per serving!
Bye, bye food coma
Say bye to the food coma by simply walking. A quick and brisk walk after a big meal helps with digestion and can stabilize blood pressure. Or, incorporate physical activities into the holidays. There are plenty of fun physical activities you can do with family and friends during this time of the year. Sledding, ice skating, skiing and more offer some great exercise and are in keeping with the holiday spirit.
Go easy on yourself
Holiday eating may stress you out, but don’t be too hard on yourself. It is important to relax and enjoy this time with family and friends. Overindulging a bit during the holidays is normal and does not mean you have to beat yourself up. If you slip, recover by picking back up your healthy eating habits and moving on. Following these simple tips will ensure you have a healthy season. Just remember to not overthink it and to listen to your body.
Here’s one of my favorite, festive holiday treats! Enjoy, and we wish you happy holidays!
Almond-Cherry-Quinoa Holiday Cookies
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat or gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
- ½ cup slivered unsalted almonds
Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries, and almonds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1” apart. Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
*Modified and taken from Dinner a Love Story.