The holiday season is a time of full-blown excess. From bake exchanges, eggnog lattes and creamy chocolates, to parties to Christmas dinner and New Year’s Eve, it’s indulge, indulge, indulge. Weight gained during the holidays usually heads directly to the belly area – the same area that’s linked to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (talk about a kill joy!) So how can you enjoy a healthy holiday season without sacrificing the fun? Here are the some tips from Dr. Mike Mostrenko of Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody.
Healthy Holiday Season: Pro Tips to Help Beat the Bulge
Be a Healthy Host
Don’t stuff your guests. If you’re planning a fancy three course meal, serve smaller portions. Provide several options for vegetables and salads on your menu, and use a light hand when adding salt. Or skip the salt and use fresh herbs or ground pepper – seasonings that add gusto to your feast. Even if you cut portion sizes, you’ll probably still have leftovers. Use them wisely, by making a salad or other heart-healthy food.
Eat something before you head to a holiday party, so that you’re not stuffing yourself with hors d’oeuvres. Bananas are a great snack for you or your kids, and the potassium-rich fruit balances increased salt levels. Yogurt, cereal, toast and vegetable soup are also good pre-party nibbles. At the party choose foods that have nutritional value. Fill half your plate with vegetables and leafy leafy salads, and the other half with protein-based foods.
Avoid Booze-y Splurges
What is the Christmas season without some holiday spirit(s)? It might be tempting to skimp on meals to compensate for the liquor you’re consuming, but you don’t need us to tell you that doesn’t exactly make for a healthy holiday. If you do drink, avoid mixing different types of liquor. Also, drinks that are lighter in colour tend to be lower in chemical derivatives, easing the effects of a hangover. To stay hydrated aim for no more than one alcoholic beverage every hour, and chase it with a long, tall glass of water.
The Morning After
Okay, in spite of your best intentions, your healthy holiday plans may have fallen by the wayside. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, when your kids wake you up well before you’d like, choose a breakfast packed with vegetables. Frittatas are an excellent option. Mushrooms include the energizing vitamin B, onions contain sulphur compounds that help detoxify the liver and eggs provide you with choline, which enhances liver function and boosts your road to recovery. Omelettes, anyone? And smoothies have plenty of potassium and help replenish electrolytes lost due to indulgent drinking. A substantial breakfast will give you the kick you need, and will curb any cravings you may have for fatty, hangover foods.
Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season!
Originally written by Amber Strocel