Healthy Holiday Eating

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The Holiday Season is upon us, bringing us celebrations, magical memories, and plenty of opportunities to overindulge. But there is no reason to fear the feast or overindulging this holiday season. Instead, prepare to be equipped with these helpful hints to guide you in making this holiday season not only memorable, but also good for you, your family and your waistline.

Go Local

Get your meat and produce from a local farmers’ market. Finding Free-run, organic Turkey, chicken, beef or ham not only helps you to avoid the hormone-infused, caged fare, but, it will also be a great way to participate in your local harvest and support local farmers. Roast Organic Turkey

Make Healthy Swaps

Traditional dishes like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other heavy carbs (most grains) made for the holiday season don’t have much nutritional value at all. Instead, try out healthier, nutrient-rich swaps that will keep you full and fueled for all of your holiday season celebrations.

  1. Stuffing is a great opportunity to make some healthy swaps. Try using a grain less bread like the Maximized Grainless rolls or making a vegan inspired vegetable nut stuffing.
  2. Try Mashed No-Tatoes are our cauliflower “potatoes”.  We use these instead of standard mashed potatoes.  You could also swap out your regular potatoes for Sweet Potato Wedges, which are far less harmful to your body’s blood sugar and inflammation. This year for Thanksgiving, we made sweet potato fries to add to our holiday feast.Sweet Potato Wedges
  3. Use Grain-Free Flour alternatives such as almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour in your favorite holiday eats and treats as seen with our Caveman Gingerbread Cookies or Paleo Pecan Shortbread Cookies.
  4.  Use Stevia in desserts instead of sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose or sugar.  Swap your traditional desserts for a new raw or vegan recipe, or if your feeling adventurous recreate an old favorite like Pumpkin Pie by swapping parts of the recipe out: regular pie crust for almond pie crust, pumpkin pie filling for pumpkin puree, etc.

Pumpkin Pie

Preparation and “Pre-Eating”

Planning for your celebrations ahead of time is key. Plan your holiday celebrations to incorporate Maximized Living meals, scheduled bouts of exercise, and special holiday activities so you can be sure to be prepared. If you’re hosting dinner, planning your feast ahead of time will allow you to make sure you buy just enough food for your special day, but not so much that you’ll have tempting leftovers sitting around afterwards.

Here are some other great ways to prep yourself for success:

  1. Whether you are hosting or being hosted, be sure to eat healthy meals throughout the day leading up to a big dinner. Having a satisfying snack before a big dinner will help keep cravings and overeating to a minimum. Try half a smoothie, a handful of almonds or a protein bar so you don’t nibble on less optimal party snacks. This becomes particularly important if you’re heading to a dinner whose host isn’t following these guidelines for Healthy Holidays!
  2. If you’re being hosted, offer to bring along a healthy veggie tray, snack, dessert, or entrée.  This is something easy to do so you’ll know for sure there will be some healthy eats available to you.
  3.  You could also pick-up or bring some sparkling water or tea to share and to sip on before or during dinner. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that seems a little fancy during holiday times and drinking water,          especially, is beneficial because it helps to provide some satiety and therefore helps you to eat less overall.

Holiday Colours

Holiday meals can be a bit monochromatic.  By focusing on a plate of diverse colours, you will also create some balance.  If you’re the Holiday Chef, be sure to choose lots of colorful veggies like brussels sprouts, fresh cranberries or sweet potato.

Remember to focus on getting proper portions of veggies, lean protein and healthy fats. The fibrous vegetables and filling healthy fats and protein will help to keep your blood sugar stabilized to avoid cravings or overeating.
Healthy Holiday Meal

Work it off!

One of my favourite traditions is to add in some activity on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.  Check out the local Turkey Trot, set up a game of family or neighbourhood football, or go check out the trails for a hike.  The holidays are a great time to get outdoors and enjoy fresh crisp air …  working up your appetite, or working off the big meal.

The possibilities are endless.

What are some of your favourite healthy holiday traditions?  Let me know in the comments below … and, happy feasting!

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Dr. B.J. Hardick

About Dr. B.J. Hardick

Raised in a holistic family, Dr. B.J. Hardick is an organic food fanatic, green living aficionado, and has spent the majority of his life working in natural health care. In 2009, he wrote his first book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, which has now been used professionally in over 500 health clinics. Dr. Hardick regularly blogs healthy recipes and holistic health articles on his own website, DrHardick.com, and speaks to numerous professional and public audiences every year. In his spare time, he invests his keen interest in sustainable living into urban development in his hometown of London, Ontario. Learn More