Posted on Oct 31, 2018
Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, which means the holiday season is upon us. This time of year brings a lot of wonderful food that isn’t always as healthy as it is delicious. We believe holiday meals with the family are meant to be enjoyed. However, what if you could enjoy yourself AND begin creating healthy habits? Don’t wait until January 1st to begin your health-focused New Year’s resolutions - start now! We teamed up with three dietitians to bring you some tips for the holiday season that can help you become a healthier you.
Balance is an important part of any healthy diet but it’s often difficult to maintain during the holiday season. All of the readily available options at the grocery store and holiday gatherings can also encourage overconsumption.Sharon Palmer, RDN, the Plant-Powered Dietitian, believes it is important to enjoy your favorite, traditional foods—but in smaller portions.
“I often find you enjoy a really delicious food just as much if you eat a small portion compared to a giant one - maybe even more, because you don’t feel so full,” Sharon said.
Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN, CDN, Triad to Wellness director of nutrition communications, said her family loves to gather in the kitchen and create festive dishes to enjoy together. To continue her healthy lifestyle during holiday affairs, she enjoys her most beloved dishes first in reasonably-sized portions.
“I listen closely to my body for when I am full, so I’m left feeling satisfied and not overly stuffed,” Kathy said. “We should all enjoy our favorite dishes during the holidays, but just in a more mindful way.”
To further help foster a healthy lifestyle during the holidays, Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com, suggests keeping to a routine as much as possible.
“There will be lots of eating events this time of the year but staying active, getting enough sleep and making sure never to arrive at a party starving are a good start,” Lauren said.
The dietitians also agree it is important to fill your day with wholesome fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. This will help you feel full and leave less room for unhealthy choices at the buffet table.
In addition to making improved portion choices, trying new or reinvented recipes with nutritious ingredients is a great step toward creating a healthier lifestyle during and after the holidays.
For a versatile holiday dish, Lauren loves this Cranberry Apple Sorghum Bake because it makes for a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert.
“Enjoy leftovers for breakfast with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, or top with whipped topping or frozen yogurt for a scrumptious dessert,” Lauren said.
One of Kathy’s favorite holiday recipes is this Asparagus Mushroom Sorghum Risotto. The recipe adds a creative spin to traditional risotto by swapping ingredients to include whole grain sorghum.
“Sorghum is a nutritionally-dense ancient grain that can easily be added to my family’s favorite recipes,” Kathy said. “Adding sorghum not only boosts the nutrition but will also create a heartier texture and an additional layer of great taste!”
With festive colors, Sharon said this Spicy Sorghum Avocado Salad would make for a healthy, satisfying party dish.
“It’s perfect for a holiday potluck or table,” Sharon said. “It also features avocados, which are in season during the holidays.”
Movement, either in the form of exercise or, when time doesn’t allow, simple activity – such as getting up from your office chair to walk or stand - is imperative to a healthy lifestyle during the holidays and beyond. This November, we challenge you to get moving!
Kathy said she gets motivated to exercise by committing to an organized, practical plan. Every Sunday, she plans her exercise for the week based on her availability.
“On days when I have more time, I’ll sign up for a class or make a date with a friend to work out together,” Kathy said. “I am less likely to skip the workout if it means canceling on another.”
On busier days, Kathy said she searches online for the latest 15-minute full-body workout and pastes the link into her calendar to do at home.
Lauren said she schedules her exercise early in the morning to make sure it gets done. When morning workouts are not possible, she makes a few changes in her daily activity.
“I have a standing desk in my office to avoid sitting when I'm not with clients,” Lauren said. “I also walk around while I'm on the phone to get in extra steps during the workday.”
Working from home can be a challenge to get moving. Sharon said she works in a home office and gets movement in everyday anyway she can. Plus, adding in a workout is a nice break from work.
“It might be a brisk walk or run or it could be rowing on my rower,” Sharon said. “Sometimes it’s working in my vegetable garden for an hour.”