This post is about the 10 best tips for healthy holiday eating.
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It is officially the best time of the year, full of cozy nights, family time, and good holiday food. Where do we start with yummy and delicious holiday foods like turkey, mash potatoes, and all types of deserts?
Yes, it is important to enjoy all the holiday foods, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw healthy eating out the window. Don’t give up on your health, you can definitely have the best of both worlds.
The best 10 tips for healthy holiday eating
1.) Share the love of food choices on your plate
Having a balance of food groups on your plate is a great way to get all nutrient-dense foods in. Hardvard.edu has a great comparison of Healthy Eating plate vs. USDA MyPlate.
2. Don’t add processed sugar or don’t buy food with added sugar
When baking or cooking, it’s important to keep your ingredients simple, unprocessed, and with no added sugar. During the holiday’s people are usually indulging, so by not adding more sugar to your food, you won’t be overdoing it.
According to the American Heart Association, “the usual intake of added sugars for Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories per day).”
3. Choose your drinks wisely
Taking the above tip should be used for this #3 tip when you are picking a beverage to go with your food. Try to minimize alcohol drinking and try hydrating throughout the day so you will avoid dehydration by the time dinner comes.
Most thanksgiving or Christmas dinners have high sugar drinks around the dinner table. Don’t fall into the sugar drinks since your already getting enough holiday sweet treats.
If you are curious, Suagrdrinkfacts.org is a great resource that shows the sugar content of various soda drinks.
You can have plain water and make homemade drinks for dinner. Below I have linked a great tasting drink alternative that has simple and healthy ingredients with no added sugars.
Spindrift Sparking Water has best-in-class ingredients and is a refreshing alternative to having water. My favorite flavors are lemon and grapefruit!
For all tea lovers out there, you can totally have tea for any meal of the day even on the holidays. Pukka Herb Tea Selection box is organic, has a great selection, and it doesn’t hurt that its presentation is beautiful.
4. Move more & stay active during the holidays
I know, I know. The last thing you want to do after eating holiday food is get up and move. You don’t have to run a 5k race to be active, a nice fall walk or playing with your kids outside can be fun ways to get moving.
Duke Integrative Medicine states that some people can gain up to 5-7 pounds between the holidays, they also give some great tips on how to stay active over the holidays.
Try out a fun family game you can do in the comfort of your own home. This Dance Charades Game is a cool, fun way to get the whole family moving and make memories along the way.
5. Don’t eat till you feel like you can’t eat anymore
We all can get a little carried away with holiday snack foods and dinner portions that are huge. By all means eat when you want but indulging until you want to vomit or can’t move isn’t a good move.
According to Cleveland Clinic’s Susan Albers, PsyD, “Aiming for 80% full should avoid triggering the ‘too full’ sensation.” So, take it easy and give yourself reasonable portions of food this holiday season.
6. Plan your holiday grocery shopping list & meal plan
Meal plan, shop smart, and planning ahead for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner is a great tip to healthy holiday eating. This helps you control what ingredients you are cooking with and prevents you from impulsive buying that can result in getting processed foods.
-Do an inventory of the food you have already.
-Make a list of recipes you want to make.
-Plan all the ingredients you will need for the holiday recipes.
-Cook with healthy oils like Avocado Oil, Olive Oils & Coconut Oil
-Limit highly refined carbohydrates
A great resource on how to shop & stock healthier foods is my last post: The Ultimate guide on how to stock a healthy pantry. You will get great tips, resources, and need-to-know information about grocery shopping.
7. Fill up your plate with More Veggies!
The first thing on you should go for is the veggies then add on the rest. Cooking more sides that contain various vegetables is a great tip to healthy holiday eating.
TIP: Make more homemade desserts, sides and buy less store-bought prepared food.
There are many great holiday vegetables recipes you can try for your holiday meals.
Here are some vegetable sides you can try during the holidays
- Herbed potato stacks
- Glazed carrots and ginger
- Cranberry quinoa salad with candied walnuts
- Green bean casserole with cauliflower cream
Using a great cookbook that has tons of healthy recipes in it is another way to help you eat healthy during the holidays. Again, more homemade desserts less store-bought!
Daniella Walker’s Against the Grain cookbook is a great resource for various Whole Foods and no grain recipes that will keep you healthy and well during the holidays.
For baking, Paleo Baking at Home is a very popular, you will be able to have tons of healthy baking recipes that you will enjoy making during the holidays.
Another great recipe book and an overall great resource for homemade cooking is the book called Outlander Kitchen. It’s full of all kinds of great tips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
8. Eat the normal 3 meals a day during the holidays
- You will have the big event of a holiday dinner, but you can’t forget the rest of the day. Don’t eat less throughout the day so you can binge eat later when dinner arrives.
- Eat a good nutritious breakfast and lunch so you can have a well-balanced day of eating, your body will thank you for it.
9. Store & Make healthy holiday leftover meals
Healthy holiday eating doesn’t stop when the holidays are over…there are always leftovers! Keep your leftover meals easy, healthy, and full of great nutrients in every bit.
You can create healthy meals and store them in your fridge for even more days of eating healthy holiday meals.
My favorite containers to use for food storage are from JaceBox Stainless steal Food Storage Containers. I use them for everything, and I will be definitely using them for my holiday leftovers too!
10. Eat slow and steady
Eating quickly is not benefit able for you, and with holiday food it can be hard to pace yourself. Five years of research have shown that eating fast can result in you having a 11.6% increase of getting heart disease, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome.
When you have that holiday meal in front of you:
- Take more time to chew between bits
- Drink in between meals
- Enjoy your food without distractions
- Chewy at a slow pace
- Don’t overload your mouth with food
Was this helpful information? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments below!
Health Disclaimer: The information in this post is only for education & entertainment purposes only. Even though I am a registered nurse, I do not claim to be your personal nurse. Always consult your physician or nutritionist for advice first before you start any new products, treatments, or a specific food.