The holiday season means celebration – family, friends and most importantly food. We need food to survive, and we also use it to gather to celebrate. During the holiday season, remind yourself that this is one month of the year. Don’t stress about what you should and shouldn’t eat. Instead, focus on balancing your plate and portion sizes.
The holidays will be different this year and less gatherings may mean less cookie exchanges. But when you do indulge, do your best to incorporate your favorite traditions in moderation. If holiday baking is a tradition you are not willing to part with, store half of the cookie dough you would normally bake in the freezer and only bake what you need at that time. Your future self will be happy to have frozen cookie dough ready to bake at any time.
Try experimenting with recipes. Whenever possible purchase low sodium or unsalted options – utilize herbs and spices to flavor foods. Slightly tweaking recipes likely will not alter the taste of the baked good. For example, reducing sugar and butter in the flavor will not be sacrificed by reducing portions.
Sticking to a routine can help you keep your overeating in check. We’ve created some healthy tips to incorporate into your daily routine this season:
- Start your day with a balanced breakfast to avoid being overly hungry and overeating at the meal. Eggs, avocado toast and a side of fruit cover all the bases for a balanced breakfast which will keep you feeling fuller, longer. You do not have to skip meals to compensate for holiday dinner.
- Balance your plate. Enjoy the sides, but do not make them the focus of your meal. Focus on protein and making half your plate non-starchy vegetables, but still make room for your favorite side dishes. This will prevent overindulging and keeping feeling full and satisfied.
- Move your body. Exercise because you want to and because it makes you feel good. Again, you do not have to compensate to savor your meal! Enjoy a nice walk with family or a friend. Any type of enjoyable movement will do.
If you are worried about lack of nutritious options at holiday dinners, a colorful winter salad is an easy contribution. Here are some guidelines to creating a delicious, healthy salad:
Start with a leafy green vegetable like spinach or arugula for a base. Add some vibrance by including the seasonal fruit pomegranate seeds or add citrus like grapefruit or blood oranges. Roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes in olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper for a fibrous starch that will add bulk and texture for the salad. Top with walnuts, pecans, or sliced almonds to add some crunch. Finish with feta crumbles to tie in all the flavors.
Try out this vinaigrette recipe to top off your salad:
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup EVOO
- Salt and pepper to taste
Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Be present and mindful of balancing your foods and portions, but most importantly enjoy the flavors of the season.
And if you did "overdo it,” you are not alone. Our team of dietitians are ready to get you back on track with meal plans and accountability to reach your wellness goals in 2021. We are always available by phone or email and are offering telehealth appointments.
Phyllis LoDuca is a registered dietitian and sees patients at Rothman Orthopaedics in Center City. For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact her at Phyllis.LoDuca@RothmanOrtho.com.