8 Healthy Holiday Tips to Keep Your Waistline Trim this Season
It’s here… The most wonderful time of the year. That time when we gather to celebrate the holidays, surrounded not only by family and friends, but also tempting culinary indulgences. Whether you’re attending an office party or hosting a cozy gathering at home, there are always ways to eat a little healthier. Our 8 tips for a healthy holiday provide good tidings to help you navigate the enticing foodscape of your Yuletide plate ––– and keep off those pesky pounds through New Year’s Day… and beyond.
1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast. Hint: Don’t skip it!
While you may be inclined to skip this important tip altogether, studies show that eating breakfast helps with calorie overload later in the day. What’s more, adding lean protein to your breakfast blunts hunger the most and is satiating. Plan for some hard-boiled eggs early in the morning or even protein filled yogurt. Our Ultimate Immune Parfait, Orange Overnight Oats, and Egg & Spinach Sauté with Fresh Herbs are all healthy and filling options. With a substantial start to the day, chances are you won’t be reaching for that calorie-laden pumpkin spiced latte and an accompanying Christmas cookie later!
2. Choose fiber filling veggies.
Low in calories and high in nutrient density, organic veggies, especially raw ones, are always a smart choice. Besides their high antioxidant benefits, vegetables are also a good source of fiber, which will keep your digestive system running smoothly through the holidays. Try setting a goal to add a few more veggies to your grocery list and plate all December long.
3. Bring your own delicious healthy dish to holiday parties
Not sure if you should cave into those pigs-in-a-blanket or buffalo chicken wings? Bring your own delicious healthy option with you! With so many innovative recipes out there, it’s not hard to wow your party host with a homemade appetizer that’s festive, healthy, and scrumptious. Check out two of our favorites: Citrus Marinated Beets and Cranberry Orange Sauce.
4. Substitute organic honey for sugar when baking
When you substitute honey for sugar in baking recipes, you’re not only doing something good for your waistline, but for the environment as well by supporting endangered bee colonies and pollinators. Use these quick guidelines for making a successful honey-for-sugar swap:
- For every 1 cup of sugar, substitute 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.
- For every 1 cup of honey you’re using, subtract 1/4 cup of other liquids from the recipe.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 cup honey used.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven by 25°F.
5. Cut salt intake by using fresh herbs and spices
With salt hidden in all kinds of holiday foods, it’s no wonder that too-full feeling happens too often during the season. Fluid retention (aka feeling bloated) is a side effect of high salt intake. Cut the bloat and boost flavors by substituting fresh herbs and spices in your traditional family recipes. As a bonus, when seasoning your next holiday roast, try using all organic and fresh ingredients like oregano, thyme and parsley. Your taste buds will thank you.
6. Drink lemon water
Drinking lemon water a few times a day around the holidays has several health benefits. It’s detoxifying and hydrating –– both needed if you’re drinking alcohol more than usual. Try Uncle Matt’s Organic No Sugar Added Lemonade to help you crowd out the unwanted and unnecessary calories and sugar that come from alcohol-infused drinks. At just 10 calories per serving, it’s also perfect for rehydrating and restoring your water balance if you do have a few cocktails too many.
7. Choose sustainably grown and farmed meats sourced from organic farmers
Besides containing health-promoting fats like omega-3 fatty acids, organic meats and poultry ensure that you are not buying meat that has been affected by artificial growth hormones. Shopping organic also means that the meat didn’t come from animals that have been raised on GMO feed treated with pesticides such as glyphosate. Let’s not forget about the overuse of antibiotics on healthy livestock and poultry, which is leading to a widespread problem of antibiotic resistance. Choose a roast or turkey labeled with the USDA organic seal and you won’t be buying a roast or turkey that’s been unnecessarily treated with antibiotics.
8. Sign up for a family 5k around the holidays
Family time, exercise, and burning all those extra calories go hand-in-hand with this healthy tip. Choose your favorite charity benefit 5k and it’s a recipe for health — body and soul! If long distances aren’t your thing, a relaxing bike ride or family walks around the neighborhood can still make a difference when it comes to balancing richer food intake with healthy digestion and exercise.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.