By Andrea Chiarchiaro, RD
Navigating the holidays’ crazy schedules of family, kids, work, and extra parties and events is like a marathon. Eating right during the holiday months will provide you with the stamina you need to make it to a happy, healthy, and sane new year.
Eat your vegetables!
Often vegetables are the first things to slide off the menu when we get busy. Vegetables are really important for their high antioxidant, vitamin, and fiber content. They keep your insides happy and feed your immune system, which we all need at this time of year. Low in calories and packed with fiber, they’ll help keep our blood sugar, mood, and weight on an even keel.
Keep frozen vegetables on hand for quick meal preparation
Have raw pre-cut vegetables on hand to help make takeout nights healthier
When you’re busy, do what works. Carrot sticks 3 nights in a row is better than no vegetables at all!
Eat regular, balanced, meals
Holiday parties and special events can throw off everyone’s schedules. Sticking to a regular meal schedule will help keep your mood and energy levels stable. Balanced meals with a mix of protein, fruits/vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates will give you energy and keep you from starving and hitting the dessert table too hard. At parties or dinners, take a moment to look at the table or menu and decide on some healthy choices before you fill your plate.
Have healthy snacks available. Cut vegetables, fruit, nuts, or yogurt will help you through the day.
Don’t skip meals! If you don’t feel hungry, a small, protein rich snack will keep your blood sugar steady through the day. Try Greek yogurt, nuts, beef jerky, or cheese sticks.
Pick your treats
Between work parties, family dinners, dinners out with friends, and your child’s school treats, there are treats around us all the time during the holidays. Being choosy about which treats to eat can help you stick to a healthy eating plan. Love your mom’s lasagna but not Grandma’s pie? Tell grandma you’ll have some pie “later” and enjoy that lasagna for dinner. Choosing your favorites before eating will help you make smart choices at meals and at the cookie table.
Offer to bring a fruit plate instead of a dessert so there is a healthy option available.
Choose 1 treat a day to have some holiday fun while avoiding overindulgence.
Plan some extra activities, such as a walk with friends or sledding with your kids to balance out those treats.