4 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy on Christmas

by: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS
Contributor: Caraline Watkins

Photo credit:  PXHERE

Sleigh bells are ringing and jinglers are jingling – and it’s the most wonderful time of the year! But maybe not for that diet you’ve been trying to follow. A study mentioned in the New York Times, shows that on average, people gain between 7 to 10 pounds during the holiday season (from Thanksgiving to Christmas). How can you enjoy all those delicious and yummy traditional Christmas or holiday snacks, meals, and desserts, while following a healthy diet program? Have no fear!  There are lots of ways to follow healthy eating habits and still enjoy your favorite holiday meals. Guilt crisis averted! Here are five to consider:

Number One: Bring something healthy to the party.   LIVESTRONG suggests bringing a healthy prepared vegetable or a fruit bowl. This gives you a healthy option and also encourages your friends and family to practice healthy eating habits as well. You can also choose to prepare a healthy main dish, rather than a side meal (no limitations here of course).  This will help you to feel less restricted and more satisfied with whatever is served – enjoy!

Number Two: Be AWARE.  It’s so easy to overeat during the holidays when your favorite foods are everywhere and you’re enjoying time with your family and friends. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends being very mindful about knowing when you are hungry and not. This way you don’t feel stuffed-to-the-gills when you are enjoying time with your family. Remember, you can ALWAYS TAKE FOOD HOME! Never feel that you have to feast on everything set before you all at once. Eat in courses and take time to enjoy the food and your company. Anything that is a must have but is usually gone within the blink of an eye, eat first or save first. Everything else can be an accompaniment or something to look forward to for the next day.

Number Three: Have a PLAN.  Many family Christmas dinners are buffet style.  It’s important to have a plan before plunging in. Your plan might include: a) Be sure not to overfill your plate. Try a little bit of the not so healthy options (bread, stuffing, cheesy potatoes, etc.) and take larger portions of the food you know is good for you (turkey, vegetables, fruits, etc.). b) For those with diabetes, I know personally that sugar-free foods do NOT taste as good as regular sugar foods I prefer to have a smaller portion of the real thing to fully enjoy it and adjust my medications accordingly (you should always check with your doctor first before changing any diet, exercise or medication therapy) (can the preceding disclaimer be in smaller font/point size?). On the other hand, you can prepare diabetic friendly desserts that are void of processed starches and refined sugars that won’t send your glucose levels through the roof. There’s less guilt here but you’ll have more leeway with your diet.

Number Four: SHARING. It’s recommended by Dianna De Cicco, a food editor and writer, try sharing the dessert with those around you. You can all get different items and share them so you can enjoy all of your favorites in smaller amounts. Encourage your family to try healthier dessert items by sending them interesting refined-free and low-sugar recipes before the holiday strikes. You can can team up with someone and even offer to prepare the desserts. Yes, this is a little more work but you’ll know your options are tasty and healthy.

Here are some holly jolly recipes to ring in the holiday with loads of holiday joy and spirit.

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Kale

Sugarless Cranberry Sauce

Fruit Sweetened Pumpkin Pie

And if you don’t feel like cooking, allow Healthy Meals Supreme to prepare yummy and satisfying meals for you this holiday season with:

From all of us at Healthy Meals Supreme, we are wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas!

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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