The toy catalogs had just been located, and I overheard several of my grandchildren discuss what they wanted for holiday gifts. It took me back to a simpler time when my stocking contained not only a toy and some candy, but also an apple, orange and banana. It was a special day, and those were treasured treats.
Today, healthy food options are readily available. However, these foods often aren’t included in holiday spreads due to a lack of planning, time, know-how or dollars.
We become victims of seasonal weight gain ― controlled by the food, beverages and treats that are placed in front of us. But what would happen if we took control of our nutrition this holiday season?
I know it can mess with a person’s mind to think of the holidays and nutrition at the same time. But one way to do this is to place an emphasis on nutrition, eating less and enjoying food more.
Seasonal nutrition means focusing on healthy foods in your diet that help you avoid mood swings, maintain energy, and improve your ability to handle whatever the season brings your way.
Here are seven tips to get you started:
- Indulge in a couple of favorite holiday treats but be mindful when you eat them. Take time to savor the taste and smell, and notice the memories they might conjure up.
- Offer to bring a healthy dish to holiday parties to ensure that you will have something nutritious to eat there. Then have just a taste of some of the other more indulgent foods at the event.
- Take a colorful variety of vegetables with a dip using plain greek yogurt to gatherings.
- Try vegetable appetizers like marinated mushrooms, tomato bruschetta, roasted asparagus or stuffed tomatoes.
- Serve pieces of different colored fruits cut up so small fingers can grasp them and enjoy the flavor and juiciness. Did you know that the different colors of food signify their different nutritional benefits?
- Put higher calorie, less nutritious foods in smaller bowls with smaller spoons to help ensure smaller portion sizes.
- If you need a last minute gift for a favorite friend or family member, consider giving the gift of a cooking class or a session to learn more about nutrition in the coming year.
Barb Brower, RD, LD, CTC, is a registered dietician and integrative health and wellness coach. She sees patients at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing – WestHealth and LiveWell Fitness Center.