It’s here… The most wonderful time of the year. That time when we gather to celebrate the holidays, surrounded not only by family and friends, but also tempting culinary indulgences ––– from office party to cozy gathering. Our 8 tips for a healthy holiday provide good (and healthy!) tidings to help you navigate the enticing foodscape of your Yuletide plate ––– and keep off those pesky pounds through New Year’s Day… and beyond.
1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast. Hint: Don’t skip it!
While you may be inclined to skip this important tip altogether, studies show that eating breakfast helps with calorie overload later in the day. What’s more, adding lean protein to your breakfast blunts hunger the most and is satiating. So, plan for some hard-boiled eggs early in the morning or even protein filled yogurt, and chances are, you won’t be reaching for that calorie-laden pumpkin spiced latte and accompanying Christmas cookie later!
2. Choose fiber filling veggies.
Low in calories and high in nutrient density, organic veggies, especially raw ones, are always a smart choice. Besides their high antioxidant benefits, vegetables are also a good source of fiber, which will keep your digestive system running smooth through the holidays.
3. Bring your own delicious healthy dish to holiday parties
Not sure if you should cave into those pigs-in-a-blanket or buffalo chicken wings? Bring your own delicious healthy option with you! With so many innovative recipes out there, it’s not hard to wow your party host with a homemade appetizer that’s festive healthy, and scrumptious. Check out two of our favorites: homemade avocado hummus with crudité vegetables and curry grilled zucchini rollups with roasted peppers and goat cheese.
4. Substitute honey for sugar when baking
When you substitute honey for sugar in baking recipes, you’re not only doing something good for your waistline, but for the environment as well by supporting endangered bee colonies and pollinators. Use these quick guidelines for making a successful honey-for-sugar swap:
- For every 1 cup of sugar, substitute 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.
- For every 1 cup of honey you’re using, subtract 1/4 cup of other liquids from the recipe.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 cup honey used.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven by 25°F.
5. Cut salt intake by using fresh herbs and spices
With salt hidden in all kinds of holiday foods, it’s no wonder that too-full feeling happens too often during the season. Fluid retention (aka feeling bloated) is a side effect of high salt intake. Cut the bloat, lower your blood pressure and boost the flavor by substituting fresh herbs and spices in your special recipes.
For seasoning your next holiday roast sans salt, check out Dr. Oz’s No-Salt Spice Mix and substitute with all organic and fresh ingredients, like fresh oregano, thyme and parsley. Your taste buds will thank you.
6. Drink lemon water
Drinking lemon water a few times a day around the holidays has several health benefits. It’s detoxifying and hydrating –– both needed if you’re drinking alcohol more than usual. Try Uncle Matt’s Organic Probiotic Lemon Water to help you crowd out the unwanted and unnecessary calories that come from alcohol-infused drinks. At 0 calories, it’s also perfect for rehydrating and restoring your water balance if you do have a few cocktails too many.
7. Choose sustainably grown and farmed meats sourced from organic farmers
Besides containing health-promoting fats like omega-3 fatty acids, organic meats and poultry ensure that you are not buying meat or poultry that has been affected by artificial growth hormones or that comes from animals that have been raised on GMO feed treated with pesticides. And let’s not forget about the overuse of antibiotics on healthy livestock and poultry, which is leading to a widespread problem of antibiotic resistance. Choose a roast or turkey labeled with the USDA organic seal and you won’t be buying a roast or turkey that’s been unnecessarily treated with antibiotics.
8. Sign up for a family 5k around the holidays
Family time, exercise, and burning all those extra calories go hand-in-hand with this healthy tip. Choose your favorite charity benefit 5k and it’s a recipe for health — body and soul!