The holidays have arrived…the season meant to be enjoyed with friends and family to honor traditions and create new memories. For some, the holidays also feel like the season where you take two steps back in your health journey.
From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years, the work parties, family gatherings, and celebrations weekend after weekend can put health on the back burner. But not anymore! This year we have put together our top 5 healthy holiday eating tips to help you navigate the holiday festivities with health in mind.
5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
Savor each meal.
There are bound to be invitations to holiday events with delicious food, tasty treats and a cocktail (or two). Tip #1: Savor each meal. That includes every meal eaten throughout the day. You have heard it over and over – do not skip meals. We are here to tell you the exact same thing! Skipping meals leads to lower energy, reduced metabolic rates and feeling sluggish. By eating frequently throughout the day, you can prevent overeating of energy-dense, nutrient poor foods at your holiday event.
What should I eat before a holiday party? Opt for nutrient dense breakfast and lunch meals with protein-packed snacks to keep you full and fueled.
Nutrient-dense recipes: Cosmic Crisp Breakfast Hash, Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad, SweeTango Chicken-Sausage Breakfast Burritos, Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad, Mango Walnut Powerhouse Smoothie
Enjoy seasonal produce.
Produce provides us with immune boosting nutrients to keep us healthy. Tip #2: Enjoy seasonal produce. In times of stress, nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc and B-vitamins can be depleted. And let’s be honest – the holiday season can be a bit stressful. By packing our plates with fruits and vegetables, we can boost our nutrient intakes. With all the seasonal produce in the produce department, there are endless possibilities to enjoy fruits and vegetables during the holidays.
What do you serve at a holiday party? Seasonal produce picks – pears, apples, squash, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cranberries…the list goes on & on. Fruits and vegetables will fill a buffet with color, fragrance and flavor. And you should aim to make half the food platters produce inspired.
What do I bring to a holiday party? Fruits and vegetables! Almost everything you need to celebrate this season can be found in the produce department. Pick up any seasonal produce item to create a simple holiday recipe or fruit & veggie tray to bring to your next holiday party. At the party, aim to fill half your plate with produce.
Alcohol is likely to be part of the party scene. Tip #3: Drink responsibly. Alcoholic beverages are usually packed with excess calories and added sugar. Consume alcohol in moderation by drinking water in-between alcoholic drinks, switching to a low-calorie mocktail or swapping high-sugar mixers with club soda, coconut water or a splash (or two) of lemon or lime juice. And by adding a holiday garnish such as fresh cranberries, orange slices or fresh herbs to a glass of sparking water is a great way to stay festive with a non-alcoholic beverage.
Did you know that it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to recognize the feeling of fullness? Tip #4: Eat Slowly. Often times, we speed through a dish just to move to the next course or mindlessly eat at the buffet table to realize the platter is now empty. Now, make it your mission to slow down by chewing thoroughly, noticing the flavors in each bite, allowing for mindful pauses between bites, and taking smaller bites.
Take the focus off food.
During the holidays, we get wrapped up into finding the best holiday recipe or creating the perfect dish to maintain our waistline. Tip #5: Take the focus off food. Eating occasions during the holidays are meant to be shared with friends and family to create memories. And if you find yourself contemplating if you should bake cookies with your kids or attend your holiday work party in fear you might fall into a nutrition pitfall, shift your mindset from the food to the experience. As always, you should cherish the time spent with your family and friends as balance is key to overall health.
That is why we at The Produce Moms put together this list of healthy holiday eating tips to help you be prepared for the festivities with health in mind. Happy Holidays!
Have additional questions regarding the healthy holiday eating? Comment below!
Disclaimer: The health information shared by The Produce Moms is meant for education to inspire you and your family to eat more produce. Before making any lifestyle or diet changes, consult your physician or Registered Dietitian.