Holiday Nutrition Tips
Written by: Heather Gerrish, RD
The holidays can be wonderful - full of family, festivities and enjoying time together with those you love, but the holidays can also present with challenges surrounding food, emotions and stress. Navigating the holidays can be tough when it comes to making healthy choices, but having a plan of action before leading in to the holidays can be an excellent way to ensure that you stay on track with your personal health related goals. Here are some tips to follow up with on the TLAG Weekly Roundtable and some recipes for our Gluten Free friends out there!
Tips for Staying Healthy This Holiday:
State your goals for the holiday season and any potential barriers you have faced in the past. It is important to highlight WHY you are going to make changes this holiday season as well as recognize barriers to watch out for and focus on while you formulate your plan.
Navigate Parties/Gatherings: This includes knowing where and who will be hosting holiday parties this year and planning ahead. Either speak with the host, or note from prior years what was served. If you know or suspect that there will be limited healthy options available for you, offer to bring a dish. This could include something as simple as a vegetable tray!
Take Advantage of Physical Activity. There are countless 5ks, Turkey Trots, Family Football games and more that are centered around the holidays. Don’t miss out on integrating more physical activity in to your day - even if it’s a walk after dinner. A brisk 15-20 minute walk after a meal has shown to improve blood glucose level control (in other words, better digestion and absorption of that wonderful meal you just ate!)1 It’s not only a great way to spend time with your friends and family, but also a great way to help your body metabolize the macro and micronutrients you just enjoyed!
Don’t deprive yourself. This might come as a surprise, but also this is not the green light to overindulge in every meal you have around the holidays. It’s important to acknowledge and accept that the holidays are surrounded and in some cases - focused - on food. Completely ignoring cravings and emotions surrounding the variety of goodies served around the holidays can lead to overindulgence and even binging tendencies later on (especially when emotions come in to play). Pay attention to how you are feeling and make sure that you dive in to those cravings - just in moderation and after filling up on a hearty serving of fruits or vegetables.
Be upfront with Friends and Family. Talk with your friends, family and loved ones that will be with you around the holidays. Let them know that you are making healthier lifestyle choices and have specific goals you are going to reach. If you approach it as a necessity for your health, the chances of anyone being offended that you are not indulging in a second helping might be a little less.
Overall, the holidays are a time to be thankful for what you have and that goes for your body and mind as well! Be thankful that you have the ability to fuel your body with nutritious, filling foods and also partake in fun holiday gatherings. Keep these tips in mind during your next holiday party or as you enter in to the holiday season. Know that you are in charge and you can make healthy choices, but also make time to enjoy the little things (even that small serving of pumpkin pie!)
Gluten Free Thanksgiving Classics:
*Recipes sourced from https://www.myrecipes.com/
“Blood Glucose and Exercise.” American Diabetes Association, diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/get-started-safely/blood-glucose-control-and-exercise.html.