You can enjoy yourself and maintain health this season!
Not only is it a busy time of year, but its also the time when there are multiple social events on your schedule each week. Plus the treats at work and cookies at home. Here is how to stay healthy with all the holiday parties on your calendar.
Eat Healthfully Before the Party
Have a balanced healthy breakfast and lunch, and a serving of vegetables before the event. Restriction leads to consuming excess food and the alcohol will get to you more quickly, too.
Drink Enough Water
Being well hydrated helps to regulate your hunger and appetite signals. This means being poorly hydrated leads to not only eating when you aren’t truly hungry, but also to overeating. Drink enough water throughout the day. (FYI: The recommended 8 cups of water per day is not enough for most people!)
Bring A Healthy Appetizer or Dish
Potluck or not, most hosts really appreciate you offering ahead of time to bring food or just surprising them with some. You can bring a healthy dish to balance out the unhealthy ones that may be there. It can be as simple as a vegetable tray or fruit salad. There are pictures of some ideas below, but you can go to my Holiday and Kids Pinterest Boards for many more fun and festive ideas!
Pick One Dessert
You’ll be much more likely to enjoy your dessert if you pick which one you really like, and if you are mindful of flavors and texture that you enjoy while eating it.
Use Fruits and Vegetables to be Festive Instead of Food Dye and Frosting
For Christmas colors: grapes, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, red & green peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, celery etc.
Hanukkah/celebrating the season (white and blue/purple foods are healthy too): Baked potato latkes, cauliflower, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, purple sweet potatoes (have them at Organnons – delicious!), blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, etc.
Really want colored frosting for treats? Try making your own or purchasing a natural food dye (I have seen several brands at Whole Foods this year!). Artificial dyes (like red 40, blue 1, yellow 5 etc) have been linked to hyperactivity and neurological problems, and are banned in some countries. The EU requires a warning label on processed foods that contain artificial dyes.
Here are recipe ideas:
Yellow, blue, pink, green coloring
Limit Intake of Alcohol and Sugary Beverages
First, you can set limits before the party or event. Decide ahead of time how many beverages you will allow yourself.
Remember that “moderate” drinking is 1 drink per day for women and 2 per day for men. 1 drink is equal to about 12 ounces of light beer, 4 ounces of wine, and 1-1.5 ounces of liquor, so beware of martini’s and large wine glasses!
Make a rule that you will have a glass of water before your first alcoholic or sugary drink, and that you will have a glass of water in between each alcoholic or sugary drink.
Reduce sugar content by using flavored seltzer waters instead of soda.
Enhance flavor and color with fruits and herbs (like mint or basil) instead of with juice or sugar.
Here are a few festive and slightly healthier drink options:
Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer (pictured left) via A House in the Hills
Use real peaches instead of peach schnapps and some maple syrup or honey instead of sugar
Honeyed Beet Sparkler via Whole Foods
Clementine Crush Cocktail via Whole Foods
Eliminate the sugar and use club soda + powdered ginger instead of tonic or ginger ale
Most importantly, remember the reason for the season!
No matter what you are celebrating this holiday season, remember that family and friends and the precious time we have together are much more important than the cookies, excess food, and drinks. Give Presence!