Healthy Holiday Eating
Stay on track with helpful tips from local experts
Busy holiday schedules make it easy to give in to poor eating habits that can have a big effect on your health long after the holidays have passed. Tanya M. Johnson, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Washington Adventist Hospital, helps you stay on track this winter.
Get festive with food. Use colorful fruits and vegetables to decorate your plate and get a good variety of vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes provide vitamins C and E. Incorporate dark-green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and collard greens, into your recipes. These powerhouse foods are low in calories and carbohydrates and are a good source of vitamin A. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons offer a daily dose of soluble fiber and vitamin C.
Celebrate smart at holiday gatherings. Use portion control with sweets. To avoid weight gain at holiday gatherings, eat at regular intervals, don’t skip meals and use these tricks:
- At the office: Place bags of treats away from your desk.
- At a buffet: Use a smaller plate as your dinner plate. Consider fruit for dessert instead of cheesecake or other sweets.
- At a dinner party: Bring a healthy dish to share. Eat a small snack beforehand so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
Control your blood sugar. People who have diabetes can check blood sugar levels before and after meals to help guide food choices. Adding healthy proteins such as nuts, tofu and lean meats to snacks and meals will help manage blood sugar levels.
Five Healthy Tips For Families
Elly Shaw-Belblidia, R.D., CNSC, a pediatric dietitian at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, offers parents five tips to help kids stay healthy over the holidays.
- Go for quality, not quantity. Make a smaller batch of cookies, for example, and don’t put them out all at once.
- Keep healthy foods on hand. Try fruit platters and cut-up veggies with low-fat dip (kids do enjoy them!).
- Avoid sugary beverages. Instead of regular sodas, keep a pitcher full of water and add lemon slices.
- Be smart with sweets. Avoid having fattening snacks and desserts out on the kitchen counter. Savor those special foods at family gatherings, but eat less of them and don’t eat them constantly.
- Stay physically active. Plan fun winter activities such as ice-skating.