How to Make Traditions and Nutrition Both Stay Home for the Holidays
Nov 23

How to Make Traditions and Nutrition Both Stay Home for the Holidays

By Sarah Kilpatrick, LMP Intern

The holidays are often thought of as the time with the richest food, the least physical activity, and generally, the hardest time to keep whatever your health goals are on track. So, how can we all stay healthy while still enjoying everything that makes this the most wonderful time of the year? The answer might involve a few swaps, but it also just might involve a little reframing.

  • Self-talk: “There are no good and bad foods. Today, I ate what I enjoyed. I love these holiday foods and I’m glad I got to enjoy them!”
  • Perspective: if you eat three meals a day, that’s 1,095 meals a year. Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner represents 1 out of 1,095… or less than 0.001%. A healthy eating pattern can (and should) involve eating just for fun sometimes.

However, sometimes there are health conditions which influence what we feel comfortable eating. Remember, eating should be as enjoyable an experience as possible, but if you’re trying to stay feeling your best as you deal with certain conditions, here are some tips.

  • Make half the flour in your baked goods whole grain – white whole wheat flour is an almost seamless swap for all-purpose flour!
  • Try more plant-based swaps – this mushroom gravy will satisfy even the meat eaters in your family (switch the heavy cream out for half and half or whole milk if you’re looking to reduce saturated fat).
  • Eat three meals a day – even on holidays. You’re more likely to eat mindfully at the big meal if you haven’t been starving all day (and if you’re diabetic, this will help keep your blood sugars stable).
  • Check labels and let whoever is cooking know if you have a condition that requires you to limit sodium, potassium, phosphorus, or other nutrients of concern.
  • Try to include a variety of colors on your plate – sweet potatoes, cranberries, and green beans all still count even if they’re served with mashed potatoes and turkey.