It’s the holiday season, a time for joyous gatherings with family and friends, and feasts to go along with them. But during this season full of delicious and traditional foods, maintaining a healthy lifestyle or even eating healthy at times, can become a challenge. With so many tempting options to feast on, and so many different gatherings this season, how do you stay on the healthy side of things? We will talk about a few tips you can use to try to maintain your health during this festive season.
You do not have to dread the holidays just because you are trying to live a little healthier! Making minor adjustments to the foods you prepare or bring to the party can make a huge difference. This can allow you to stay on track and still participate in the holiday fun. Below are some helpful tips you can keep in mind over the next month to allow you to enjoy the holiday season without feeling guilty when indulging with friends and family!
- Make Swaps in Recipes– You can swap out many different parts of your recipes for healthier options without losing much of the flavor holiday meals bring. Options like using low-sodium broth or canned items, low-fat versions of ingredients, skim-milk over whole milk or heavy cream, applesauce and canola oil instead of butter when baking, or whole foods over processed whenever possible are just a few examples of swaps you can do to upgrade the health of your meals without giving up on flavor. Making swaps like this where you can cut down on the calories, sodium, and fat of many of your holiday meals.
- Stay Hydrated– drinking more water, especially during meals or gatherings, is linked to fewer calories and sugar consumption. Staying hydrated helps prevent overeating, but additionally, choosing to drink water over other sugary or high-calorie drinks helps stay within a healthy lifestyle. In general, drinking fewer calories is always a better option, so sticking to water over sodas, juices, or other drinks will help maintain your health.
- Avoid Drinking Alcohol Whenever Possible– Avoiding alcoholic beverages is a key component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For starters, alcohol is an inflammatory, meaning the consumption of it will promote chronic inflammation within your body. While everyone should be aware of this, it is even more important for people who suffer from chronic diseases! Also, consuming alcohol will more than likely lead to overeating. The more we drink, the more likely our inhibitions are reduced, leading to poor choices when it comes to food. Typically we would suggest that you avoid alcohol altogether, but if you are going to have a drink this holiday season, you can follow some of these tips. Holiday drinks like eggnog can have up to 500 calories, with other alcoholic beverages having anywhere from 125-250 calories. If you do drink, keep in mind that these are empty calories you are consuming. Drinking water or seltzer between drinks will help you stay on track while still enjoying the holiday drinks you love. Additionally, avoid drinking on an empty stomach as it increases your appetite and makes you prone to overeating on less healthy options.
- Avoid Overeating– With all the different options during the holiday season, it can be easy to stuff down all the different delicious foods there are, but overeating will have a negative affect on your body and make you feel worse the following day. To avoid overeating, don’t go to parties or gatherings hungry, and try to snack or have a small meal before. When eating, try to take medium size portions and wait about 10 minutes before going back for more, as it takes time for your brain to register the food you ate. You may not be as hungry as you think after you eat, so giving it time will give you a better perspective. Additionally, take your time while eating. While you may have the urge to stuff down all that delicious food, eating slowly prevents overeating and leaves you feeling more satisfied after meals.
- Stay Active– Dancing at parties and going for family walks are just two examples of how you can continue to stay active during events and gatherings. Walk around and talk to people before going to snack or having your next drink, simple steps like this will keep you active and help maintain your health during holiday events throughout the season.
With this season being so full of delicious, heavy, holiday foods, it can be hard to stay on track and keep up with a healthy and happy lifestyle. But with small tips like the ones we talked about, you can enjoy the season and all it offers while staying happy and healthy!
How can we help?
At the Integrative Cardiology Center of Long Island, we offer a variety of programs based on functional medicine, that are personalized to each patients needs. By creating our treatment models, patients can come to us for not only cardiovascular conditions but lifestyle interventions as well. To learn more about the different programs we have to offer, contact us to schedule an appointment!