Season's Eatings: 5 Healthy Tips for Holiday Eating

Season's Eatings: 5 Healthy Tips for Holiday Eating

Still in a food coma? By now, the Thanksgiving leftovers should be just about finished and the tryptophan-induced sleepiness worn off. Now, it’s time to get back on track…but with holiday parties, office treats, extra socializing (usually involving decadent treats and cocktails), and comfort food cravings that come along with the cold winter nights, how is that possible?

The average person gains about one to two pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, which may not sound like a lot, however this weight is often not lost from year to year and can add up over time. The best line of defense is to maintain your weight over the holidays and then focus on weight loss once the festivities come to a close. Even if weight loss is not your goal, striking a balance between eating well and still enjoying delicious holiday fare can help you kick off the new year one step ahead of everyone else.

It’s not about deprivation; it’s about keeping your body happy when temptation to overindulge is staring you in the face. What’s a NutriBlaster to do?

1. Don’t skip your morning Blast or a warm nourishing breakfast at home

A home-cooked hearty bowl of oat or quinoa porridge or aNutriBlast not only contributeto your daily fiber and antioxidant intake, but they'll ensure that at least one meal of the day is made at home. Research shows that one’s frequency of dining out is positively correlated to an increase in weight. Eating at home helps you dictate the quality of ingredients as well a reasonable portion size – two things you have no control over at restaurants or house parties. Breaking the fast with a high-fiber and protein-filled breakfast helps keep your blood sugar stable, preventing cravings for not-so-healthy holiday snacks throughout the day.

2. Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with healthful foods that boost your immunity

How often do you shop at the grocery store? If you answered less than once a week, then it may be time for a change. Healthy, whole foods have a shorter shelf life than packaged, processed foods. Try to hit the grocery store at least once a week to stock up on fresh produce. While you’re there, grab some frozen fruits and veggies for those times when certain foods might not be in season or when you just don’t have the time to shop. If you have healthful foods at your fingertips, it’s much easier to stick with the plan and resist temptation. Fruits and veggies are filled with antioxidants that can help keep you feeling your best when colds and the flu run rampant.

3. Keep a water bottle with you at all times

I’ll admit; I’m one of those California girls that complains about it being cold once the temperature drops into the 60s, and when I’m “cold,”I often forget to drink water. However, staying hydrated is imperative to keeping your body functioning at its optimum level and keeps your skin glowing. In addition, water helps flush out any bad bugs that may contribute to a seasonal cold. I know water may not be the most exciting beverage this time of year, so try spicing it up with some leftover cranberries, cucumber, fresh mint or orange slices. Herbal tea, fresh pressed juice, raw vegetables and fruit, as well as NutriBlasts, are additional ways to meet your daily hydration quota.

4. Ask for recipes and only healthy leftovers

Aunt Sally’s famous sweet potato casserole, your co-workers velvety smooth fudge, the delightful cheese ball with herbed crackers at the New Year’s party… It’s all too overwhelming!Do yourself a favor and just take a tiny bitewhen offered something you’d enjoy, but just don’t have any more room in your tummy.Ask for the recipe. Then if you’d like, make it for yourself sometime during the year. This way, the chef doesn’t feel rejected. In addition, when offered leftovers,pack a container with the healthier dishes and leave the sweets and calorie-laden options for the host or other guests. This helps out with #2, as well. Out of sight, out of yourmouth!

5. Sleep and then sleep some more

Our everyday work-centric culture, long hours and hectic to-do lists transcendbeyond borders, affecting almost the entire world. Add to that the increasing demands of holiday shopping, social events, work parties, family gatherings, late night events and end-of-the-year chores and we find ourselves continuously falling short of the recommended 7-9 slumber hours per night. Without letting anything fall through the cracks, how can one fit it all in?

I personally like to use task management software that keeps me on track and allows me to prioritize. Whatever system works for you – use it to create a plan of attack! Another tip is to take a technology break. Some technology actually helps us do things quickly (i.e. washing machines, microwaves, cars, dishwashers, etc.), but most of it is a time suck – think television, too much Internet, and social media. You don’t have to give these up for good, just limit the amount of time you spend on each - set a timer.

Speaking of timer, instead of setting your alarm clock for a wake-up call, set one for a get-to-bed reminder. Make sleep a priority, especially around the holiday season to help keep your hormones and weight in check, as well as keep your immune system at its peak.

Registered Dietitian

Comment by jrockturner
December 28, 2014
I have left-over cranberries, and you said to use them to "spice up" water--how to do that? Crush them first, or just drop them in?
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