Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

by SPARK


Thanksgiving is gone and past, which means the holiday season is creeping up. The holidays are a time for celebrating what you have with your friends, family, and other significant persons. Festivities usually center on giving gifts and, of course, eating a ton of delicious food—the latter of which can pose a big problem for those kids and adults looking to stay fit. Here are a few healthy holiday eating tips for you and your kids this holiday season.thanksgiving-dinner

  • Cook with healthier substitutes. Cooking a healthy holiday feast for the family doesn’t mean turning everything into boring, tasteless mush. With some simple substitutions, you can still enjoy your holiday favorites without as much of the bad stuff.

–   A little salt is fine, but too much sodium can lead to hypertension and a variety of other issues. Cut back on the salt and replace with some more creative flavorings. Use more herbs, spices, garlic, and lemon or other citrus juices to tickle the taste buds. Rosemary and sage are two particular herbs that go perfectly with holiday meals.

–   Whether you’re baking up some holiday treats or making your classic noodle casserole, opt for whole wheat flour instead of white flour. Refined carbohydrates like white flour aren’t sustaining and cause a drastic spike in blood sugar. Not the best combination.

–   Sugary sweets are a staple of the holiday season. Spice cake, cookies, pumpkin and pecan pies, and oh-so-much candy. Too much sugar can only cause trouble. If you’re mixing up any batter for baking, cut down on the sugar and replace with vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon. A great sweet substitute in cake recipes is apple sauce—it keeps cake moist as well!

  • Have a plan when holiday shopping. Long bouts of shopping inevitably lead to some hunger pangs. Instead of dashing for the food court or drive thru, have some snacks on hand or make sure your kids eat before the shopping trip. If you must eat out, choose a proper sit-down restaurant over anything in the food court. Sit-down eateries offer healthier choices and menu items that can be altered to fit a healthier diet.
  • Eat something before the party. You and the kids will no doubt be heading to a whole host of parties, soirees, and get-togethers throughout the holidays. Before you head out, enjoy a healthy meal or substantial snack at home. This may fill your kids up so they don’t eat as much at the party, but primarily, it will allay any stress or worries. You know your kids ate something healthy to balance out all the snacks and cookies they enjoy at the party.
  • Don’t single out the kids. You may primarily be concerned with your kids’ weight, but the whole family could use some healthy eats over the holidays. Singling your kids out while you enjoy all those rich holiday foods will only discourage and alienate them. Practice healthy eating with all the family members, regardless of size or fitness level. This will be easy if you…
  • Focus on the size of portions. Instead of restricting foods—difficult with such a diverse mix of delicious foods and ingredients—focus on portion sizes. Make sure each dish contains a balanced assortment of veggies, fruits, protein, and whole grains. Controlling portions also means avoiding overeating. Enjoy as much as you can to reach satisfaction; you should not feel morbidly full after every meal.carrots-and-snow-peas
  • Make each bit of food count. Teach your kids to make every bit of food count. Instead of piling food on their plates willy-nilly, your kids should choose their favorite treats and foods that are special and only available during the holiday season.
  • Incorporate plenty of physical activity. With the family around, take part in some fun physical activities. This doesn’t mean just heading to the gym. There are tons of ways to stay active without even realizing it. Instead of sitting idly around the house, take part in some classic snow activities, like ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding, building snowmen, or partaking in snowball fights. Throw around the pigskin. Take a stroll through the neighborhood to check out all your neighbors’ Christmas lights and décor. Go on a short day-hike and come back in time for a delicious, healthy meal.
  • Enjoy the holidays. Take the focus off health and fitness during the holidays and concentrate on enjoying fun times with family and friends. Stress will only lead to overeating, poor choice of food, and grumpy spirits. It’s okay to let loose and indulge just a bit during the holidays.

Tags: , , , ,