Let’s face it. We’re smack in the middle of eating (and shopping) season. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy the spirit of the season and favorite holiday foods, while staying reasonably healthy, too.
Get Prepared: It’s not fun to sit in a room full of people eating delicious (off-limits) foods while you sit quietly drinking your water and nibbling a carrot stick. It’s also a recipe for a rebound binge at home. Have a 2 pack of gluten-free cookies, Clementines, or your favorite chocolate stashed away work, or bring an apple crisp, chocolate covered strawberries, meringues or “secret chocolate cake” along with you to a party. Check out this list of naturally gluten-free and seriously delicious options. Make sure your children have treats at school so they don’t feel left out, either.
Savor: Bottom line, you’re going to eat some treats this holiday season, so you might as well truly enjoy them. Be choice-ful and target things you enjoy most (i.e. no filling up on chips or every day foods unless those are the only options) When you eat, really eat! Take time to fill your senses and really enjoy. When we are really tasting our food (rather than inhaling something while talking and multitasking) food tastes much better, we’re more satisfied and full quicker.
Balance: if you are going to a holiday party in the evening, make an extra effort to eat well on other days. Add in more vegetables, fruits, beans, gluten-free whole grains, etc. and move more, too! A piece of chocolate cake one day won’t make or break a diet, but treats every day will add up.
Move the goodies out of sight: One of the biggest challenges of the season is a see-food diet, otherwise known as “if I see it, I eat it”. Studies show that when people keep food out of sight, they eat less. Avoid the constant temptation. Instead, put fruits on the counter or in your refrigerator where they are easy to grab. Seasonal fruits in the winter months include Clementines, oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, grapes, pomegranates, persimmons, mangos, and more.
Fill your table with fruit and veggie dishes: Have your holiday meals feature seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, collards or other greens. Make roasted chestnuts as a snack. Have a fruit inspired dessert, like baked apples, poached pears, sautéed bananas, etc.
Soups: as long as they’re not cream based, most soups are a healthy snack or part of a filling meal. Chicken and turkey soup with brown or wild rice, butternut squash soup, lentil soups and other beans soups are a great way to stay warm and enjoy seasonal flavors.
Get moving! Exercise is a great way to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and burn calories, too. Head out at lunchtime for a short walk, start a new family tradition and do something active at family events, dance at party functions, or make a habit of hitting the gym. You don’t have to wait until January for healthy resolutions.
A gargantuan Home for the Holidays from GFE and others with gobs of giveaways!
- Washington Post did a great article on gluten and who benefits from a gluten-free diet, which features some of my thoughts and comments.
- I’ve been nominated as Emerging RD Leader for VA by the Northern VA Dietetics Association! I’m quite flattered.
- Are you a baker? Jules Shepherd is hosting a GF Cookie Swap Contest, and I’m sure that will be a great place for inspiration & to share your specialties.
Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.