Tips for Holiday Health

6 Quick Tips for Healthy Holidays

T’is the season for holiday parties, activities and late nights, which can make staying on top of your health a challenge. Read below for some tips and tricks to help you and your family stay on track or watch here:

Eat first

Prevent over indulging over the holiday season by eating something healthy and balanced prior to going to a holiday party or event. A balanced snack should contain protein, healthy fats and fiber. For all the parents out there, remember to model healthy eating over the holidays – your kids will mimic your behavior.

  1. Energy Bites (swap for sunflower butter if you’re in a peanut-free household)
  2. Parfait: Granola, plain yogurt, fruit
  3. Apple and handful of nuts
  4. Smoothie: 2 cup milk or non-dairy milk + 1 banana + 1 cup frozen berries + 1 cup frozen spinach+ 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp psyllium + 2-3 ice cubes. Blend & enjoy (serves 2)!
  5. Bar: LARA, Elevate Me, GoMacro or Simply Protein

Stay hydrated

Lack of hydration (or dehydration) can manifest as an increase in appetite. To stay hydrated, limit sugary seasonal drinks (hot chocolate, apple cider, eggnog) and instead fuel your immune system by hydrating with water. Try making fruit infused water or adding TRUE lemon or lime to water to enhance your water’s palatability.

Start cooking

Ditch the store bought sweets and treats which are often high in saturated fat and sugar, and low in fibre. Instead, try making healthy recipe substitutions to make your treat more nourishing. Remember that healthy eating can include sweets and treats; just remember to include them in moderation. Try these healthier alternatives to your typical store bought desserts:

  1. Instead of making cookies try using Christmas cookie cutters to punch out festive shapes in pineapple or watermelon. Decorate fruit cut outs with yogurt, raisins and dark chocolate.
  2. Try cutting down on the sugar you add to recipes by 1/3, or substitute sugar for a fruit puree (ex. applesauce).
  3. Boost the fibre content of your treat by adding beans or lentils to your baking; check out lentils.org or the “Spilling the Beans” cookbook for some great recipes, or try these lentil barley berry muffins!
  4. Swap out ½ white flour for whole grain flour – you’ll get a big boost in fibre and B vitamins.

Limit your alcohol intake

The Canadian Cancer guidelines recommend limiting alcohol to 2 standard drinks for men, and 1 standard drink for women, consecutively per day. A standard drink is 1.5 oz hard alcohol, 12 oz beer, or 5 oz of wine. Some additional tips to cut down on alcohol consumed over the holidays:

  1. Choose narrow glassware over wide bottomed glassware.
  2. Weave in glasses of water (alternate between one alcoholic drink and one glass of water)
  3. Use your non-dominant hand to drink alcohol.
  4. Have a wine spritzer: add ice or soda water to your wine to make your drink last longer and reduce calories.
  5. Sip, don’t shoot, alcohol.
  6. Limit drinks that contain pop or sugary syrups.

Eat mindfully

Ditch the “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to holiday foods and practice mindful eating. Use all the senses to choose food(s) that are both satisfying and nourishing. Acknowledge responses to food (likes, dislikes, or “so-so”s) without judgment, and become aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide decisions about when to begin and end eating. If you’re interested in learning more about mindful eating book an appointment with your dietitian!

Stay active

Fill your holiday season with non-food holiday activities. Examples include skating, tobogganing, skiing, snowshoeing, reading a Christmas book, craft projects and/or board games. Entertain your body and mind with activity while taking the emphasis off the treats!