The holidays are upon us all, which makes it a time to overindulge in some spectacular treats. However, if you want to avoid the New Year’s resolution of losing weight you gain during the holidays plus any you might already wish to lose—then finding out how to eat healthier while having fun is imperative.
There is nothing that says you can’t eat healthy, enjoy snacks, and have moderate alcohol consumption during the holidays. In fact this is the time for all of it.
The first step to being healthy during the holiday season with food is to plan your limitations as part of rule #1. You can eat what you love and enjoy a little alcohol, as long as you are old enough.
Eating healthy does not mean you starve. It means you eat specific food items in moderation and have balanced meals.
The Balanced Meal means a healthy portion of protein, a little dairy, fiber, vegetables and fruit. All of this can be found even at a holiday party. You have a choice of holiday cookies and desserts in front of you:
- Thumbprint cookies with jam
- Pecan Balls rolled in Powered Sugar
Of those three choices, which is the healthier cookie to take? Fudge is nothing more than sugar melted with chocolate. The pecan balls are butter, flour, sugar and nuts with more sugar. Thumbprint cookies contain jelly, butter, flour, a little sugar, egg, and nuts. With jam and nuts you are getting protein, fruit and fiber from the nuts.
While not strictly healthy because of the sugary goodness you have at least made the best choice at the table. You might have a dessert like strawberries dipped in chocolate versus cookies in which case the unprocessed strawberry with a little chocolate would be a healthy choice.
Eating in moderation is necessary whether you are at a buffet with family or a holiday party. Say you go to a buffet with prime rib, ham, shrimp scampi, lobster, mashed potatoes, salad and dessert. You want to have it all and you can. There is nothing wrong with a sampling of all. Simply take a very small portion of each item. If you are still hungry with a few tablespoons of each item, you can go back for seconds with a focus on more meat since that is the healthiest item. You may even go for more lobster. However, shrimp scampi is based on angel hair pasta so that is not a good choice for seconds. Instead, the pasta is carbohydrates you do not want to eat too much of.
The main focus is to consider what you are eating, find the more valuable vitamins and nutrients that are at the party, buffet, or dinner table and enjoy more of these versus those that you know are clearly not good for you.
Adding a little red wine is considered heart healthy, and butter is back in fashion- so remember think about whether nuts and fruit is better than just nuts. Think about substituting ingredients that are healthier like real berries for jam or ham without glaze versus prime rib with sauce. You can eat healthy.