Healthy Eating for the Holidays
is the Best Gift to Give Yourself
It’s that time of year again – the holidays. We love them and hate them at the same time. While the “season of giving” can bring us wonderful times with friends and family, they can also drown us in an overabundance of rich foods and sweets. Packing on a few extra pounds isn’t unusual during this time of year. Weight gain results not only from excessive eating and drinking, but also from added stress. It’s time to de-stress and maintain a healthy weight this holiday season.
Emotional Connections to Food: Holiday eating can be infused with emotional connections that we may not even recognize. For example, consuming sugar releases serotonin, the “feel good” hormone. When the stress resulting from over commitment, financial strain or family demands hits, you may find yourself reaching for the holiday goodies to compensate.
Keep-up Your Routine: One of the best ways to stay fit and healthy during the holidays is to keep to your exercise routine as much as possible. Be sure to get to bed by 10 p.m. on the nights you’re not out celebrating. Get to the gym or do your regular workout. Remember, exercise increases your energy and reduces your cravings.
Surviving Holiday Meals: If you’re like me, it’s hard to be surrounded by your favorite foods and not to overindulge. Do you tell yourself, “It’s just once a year, I deserve it!” If so, remind yourself there is no food shortage. Stuffing yourself won’t make you feel good, you’ll just feel stuffed.
Specific foods have sentimental value: Special foods may remind you of your Mom’s cooking when you were a child. Take a moment to enjoy the aroma and remember the good memories, without feeling obligated to over consume that particular food.
Limit Your Alcohol: Don’t start drinking alcohol until after you’ve eaten something with protein such as nuts, turkey or cheese. All that sugar on an empty stomach will just spike your blood sugar levels. When your levels plummet, you’ll end-up ravenous. Alcohol also quells our inhibitions making it harder to say “no,” which often leads us to mindlessly roaming the buffet table consuming larger quantities than planned. Remember to drink water between alcoholic drinks.
Reinvent Special Recipes: When planning your own special holiday meal, choose wisely rather than nostalgically. You don’t need to make the green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows just because that’s what you used to eat as a child. There are several updated and healthier versions of classic holiday recipes available.
When Menu-Planning, Cut-Out Non-Essentials: While some foods are “must-haves”, others are less essential. Keep your meals simple and cut-out the foods which are not absolutely needed. When you look at a table that has mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and biscuits, it evokes a feeling of over kill. Consider choosing the one side dish you can’t live without.
Starvation Before an Important Meal May Backfire: Some people decide to starve themselves in preparation for a big meal or party. If you arrive starving, it will be just that much harder to keep yourself from eating everything in sight. Why sign-up for disappointment and self-judgment? Always have protein and fat with your breakfast and lunch before the big dinner.
The Glass is Half-Full: It’s important to note that being healthy during the holiday season doesn’t mean deprivation. Think of it as moderation and balance. If you do overindulge, be gentle with yourself and plan lighter meals for the next few days.
Whether you are celebrating at home, with friends or at a fancy cocktail hour, remember to focus on the people with you and the conversation flowing around you. Enjoy socializing with people you haven’t seen all year. or maybe since COVID. Take a moment to be thankful and appreciative of the abundance in your life. All these things “feed” us and when we are nourished this way, food and drink fade in importance, rather than being in the spotlight. When you are successful at putting your attention on the good things in life, the law of attraction draws even more to you. That’s the best gift of all!
Here’s a healthy sweet treat
everyone will love.
Protein Nut Butter Chocolate Bites
Makes about 10 bite-sized balls
- ½ cup natural nut butter of your choice
- ¼ cup honey (or date syrup)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup USANA’s Nutrimeal Active Chocolate or chocolate protein powder of choice
- 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
- ½ cup rolled oats (gluten free, if desired)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Place all ingredients except coconut (if adding) in food processor. Pulse together until combined. Stir in coconut (if desired). Roll dough into bite-sized balls. Optional: Cover with shredded coconut for a tasty snowball treat. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If you have any questions, or need help, I’m here to support you. Have a great week. Donna
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