Making healthy holiday food choices can feel impossible. From eggnog to homemade pies, it seems like we’re constantly surrounded by lots of high-fat foods. Though staying healthy this month may be challenging, it’s certainly possible. And it doesn’t mean you have to skip out on your favorite foods or traditions. Here are some tips for making healthy holiday food choices.
Wait before getting seconds
Before you get another helping at dinner, wait ten minutes to process what you’ve eaten. After all, it takes a few minutes for your stomach to communicate “I’m full” with your brain. What can you do instead? Visit with friends, have a glass of water, play with pets. And after ten minutes have passed, recheck your appetite and see if you’re still feeling hungry.
Eat more vegetables
When you’re eating a holiday meal, pay attention to vegetable options. Foods like corn and green beans can make healthy side dishes, as long as they aren’t made with heavy creams or butter. So if you’re hosting a dinner party, be sure to have vegetable (and fruit!) options on your table.
Don’t linger at the food table
Whether you’re at a party or in your own kitchen, don’t linger at the food table. Looking to visit with family? Walk into the living room instead of standing by the chips. If you’re prone to social eating, it may be helpful to stay away from tasty treats while catching up with friends. You can also eat a mint or chew a piece of gum instead of reaching for another cookie.
Don’t shop hungry
This is helpful advice throughout the year, not just around the holidays. If you’re going shopping, either eat a meal or a healthy snack beforehand. One of our favorite pre-shopping foods is the Peanut Butter Hemp & Flax energy bar by Kate’s Real Food. This all-natural, certified-organic energy bar keeps us fueled while we’re out–and away from those holiday treats.
Cook for the heart
When you’re cooking for friends and family, remember that choosing healthy foods is a way to show loved ones you care about them. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to skip mashed potatoes or frosted cookies. Try new recipes that use less butter, cream, and other high-fat foods. Not only will you have healthier meals, but you might even start traditions of your own.
Eat before you go
Let’s be clear: we don’t mean you should eat an entire meal going to a holiday dinner. But eating a healthy snack beforehand can prevent you from arriving famished. Harvard Health recommends combining complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat. Examples include apple slices with peanut butter or turkey and cheese on whole-wheat pita bread.
The holiday season isn’t the easiest time of year for making healthy food choices. However, there are plenty of ways to fuel your body without sacrificing your favorite holiday traditions and foods. Looking for more information on healthy eating? Follow our blog to learn about The Organic Snack Company, quality food choices, and more.