Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

There’s shopping to do, cookies to bake and parties to go to. And let’s not forget holiday recitals, trips to the airport and post office runs. Does anyone have the time for healthy meals during the holidays?

Preparing nutritious meals and eating healthy do not have to be on the back burner at this time of the year, says Lizette Franks, dietician at Vista Community Clinic. Here are her tips on how to stay fit, feel good and avoid packing on the holiday pounds!

A LITTLE PLANNING GOES A LONG WAY

  • Stock your pantry with healthy, non-perishable items. If you are buying canned vegetables, make sure they don’t have added salt.
  • Frozen vegetables without sauces are healthy options and save time when preparing main dishes.
  • Take advantage of pre-cut vegetables if your budget allows it. Always wash them before cooking and serving.
  • Buy protein in bulk and freeze smaller portions for quicker defrosting.
  • Cook large batches of brown rice and pasta, and freeze smaller portions for later use.

COOKING HEALTHY

  • When serving vegetables, avoid creamy sauces and creamy dressings. Add flavor with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and mustard, and herbs like mint, basil and cilantro.
  • Serve whole wheat rolls instead of crescent rolls. Limit butter to 1 tsp for spreading. Avoid butter for cooking and avoid margarine.
  • Stay away from high fat appetizers like sausages, chorizos, nachos and creamy dips.
  • Remove skin from poultry and turkey.

EATING SMART

  • Avoid skipping meals. Begin your day with a healthy breakfast which includes a good source of fiber and some protein.
  • Keep hydrated, mainly with water, throughout the day.
  • Start your holiday meal with a salad to prevent overeating during the main course. Vegetables provide fiber and keep us fuller longer.
  • Use a smaller plate for your meals.
  • Eat slowly, making sure you enjoy every bite of your food.
  • Pause to drink water and wait for approximately 10 minutes before getting second helpings.

EXERCISE

  • Start increasing your physical activity before the holidays. Park farther away from your work place and when you run errands. Make some additional rounds of the mall when you are out holiday shopping.
  • Plan on going for a walk after meals with friends or family.
  • Take stairs  instead of the elevator.
  • Play catch, shoot the hoops or take a walk on the beach with your children.
  • Make music and dancing a part of your holiday celebrations.
  • Burn excess calories by catching up with housework. Spruce up the yard, organize your closets and clean the garage.

Sources: www.eatright.org, a website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.