Savory gravy, creamy potatoes, sugary sweets…‘tis the season of overindulgence. It can be a challenge for everyone, particularly for those with cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, or eating disorders. But it doesn’t have to be! With a little pre-planning, you can enjoy the festivities and food without the guilt or worry of slipping off your health plan.
So it’s your turn to host the family for your big holiday dinner this year. Did you know you can create many of the same traditional Christmas dishes and treats but with a fraction of the fat and sugar? Substituting certain ingredients for healthier alternatives can make a big difference! For example, avocado can take the place of butter when baking brownies, while applesauce is a great replacement for refined sugar. Cutting out even half a cup of sugar can save you and your loved ones from eating over 300 unneeded calories! Even mashed potatoes can be switched out for cauliflower with no one really noticing! You can also replace plates of treats and high-calorie appetizers with fresh and colorful seasonal fruits and veggies. Save those treats for dessert; full stomachs have less room for overindulgence.
Sneaking in the Steps
We get it; everyone is in a mad dash during the holidays. Whether you’re trying to find the perfect gift or are creating a winter wonderland in the front yard, getting enough exercise might be the last thing on your mind. Holiday-based marathons are becoming very popular, and can give you something to look forward to away from the hectic festivities. If you can’t find the time to hit the gym or get that run in, you can still get in your steps. You’d be surprised at how much walking you do at your local mall while shopping, especially if you park as far from the doors as possible. An added bonus? It’s easier to find parking!
Party Prepping 101
You don’t have to ditch holiday parties and get togethers just to avoid overindulging. Before the party, make sure you eat! Even if you’re heading over for a full dinner at a loved one’s, eating a small, healthy meal or snack can go a long way in helping you make smart choices for your plate. Drinking water ahead of time is also a great idea, since thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. If you’re planning a night out and want to avoid the calories that come with alcohol, you can offer to be the designated driver. That way, you have an excuse to turn down drinks and also ensure everyone gets home safely. Not to mention the IOUs and good karma you can cash in with your friends at a later date.
Indulging a little is okay! It is the holidays after all. Just make sure to choose the treats you truly love and use these tips to enjoy the day without the guilt that comes with the loss of self-control. Happy holidays from all of us at Newman Regional Health!