Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

  

The slippery slope begins just after Halloween, nibbling on leftover candy the uh, Switch Witch “took away.” A traditional Thanksgiving dinner offers an astounding 4,500 calories in one meal! Holiday parties at school or the office are filled with treats laden with sugar and fat. Is it any wonder the average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season?

Here’s a few tips to make the holidays a little healthier for the whole family:

Don’t skip breakfast. Some skip breakfast to “save up” calories for later however it can leave you feeling hungrier and more likely to indulge on foods higher in sugar and fat. Eat a nutritious breakfast such as eggs, whole grain toast and fresh fruit or steel-cut oats with nuts and dried fruit.

Stock the fridge with nutritious food. How about designating a kids drawer in the fridge? Fill it with cut vegetables, fresh fruit, lean cheeses, yogurt, and other healthy snacks that are at eye-level and easy to grab. This is especially helpful on days when you are busy cooking.

Eat a healthy snack before a holiday party. If your kids are like mine, they’re more interested in playing at a party than eating so feeding them beforehand is a must. For parents and teens watching their caloric intake, it’s easier to exert self-control if you’re not starving.

Bring a healthy dish to the party. Not sure if there will be healthy items at the party? Bring one to share. If you have a selective eater in your family, pick something he or she is guaranteed to eat.

Add more vegetables to your holiday dinner. Vegetables up the nutrition and flavor without the extra calories so sneak them into the meal. Add kale to stuffing. Mashing some cauliflower in with the potatoes lowers the carbohydrate content and goes undetected. How about preparing a side of roasted vegetables and a salad to accompany the meal?

Even with mindful planning and eating, the comfort foods may be difficult to resist so enjoy in moderation and plan some activity to offset the extra indulgence.  A brisk walk, or a game of family catch or tag football, is just the kind of fun family fun to a balanced Thanksgiving.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!