Ah, the holiday season. Joy is in the air, tradition abounds and nostalgia fills our hearts. Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year can also bring its fair share of guilt. Sure, there’s the guilt you’ll get from your great aunt for not sending a thank you note for the hand-knit cardigan. But I’m talking about the kind that usually sets in right around the time you find yourself Googling “ways to dress up sweatpants for work.”
Between holiday festivals, family gatherings and office parties, we are bombarded with delicious, but calorie-dense delicacies. The waistline wary needn’t fear, however; it is possible to stay on the fit and healthy path throughout the holidays. Linda Nunes, Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market in Cranston, shared some helpful tips for eating healthier this holiday season:
Eat at least one fresh green salad each day. The nutritious, fiber rich raw vegetables in salad take a while to chew and will help you feel full, making you less likely to stuff yourself with empty calories.
If you’re attending a party and want to be sure you have at least one healthy option, offer to bring a dish of your own. Prepare it with wholesome, nutritious foods like vegetables, whole grains, berries or beans.
Seek alternatives for your favorite recipes. When baking, sweeten dishes with chopped dates and fresh, frozen or dried fruits instead of sugar, as these provide fiber and nutrients along with sweetness.
Reach for dishes that include healthy fats like nuts and seeds, which will add nutrients and fiber to your diet. Avoid extracted oils and processed fats like margarine, as the refining process for these foods removes valuable nutrients.
Be mindful of how you configure your plate. Add more greens, choose leaner cuts of protein (think white meat rather than dark) and when you do indulge in the traditional holiday favorites, take smaller helpings.
Planning meals ahead of time and enjoying goodies in moderation are the keys to avoiding holiday guilt – at least when it comes to eating. That guilt from your great aunt, well, that’s another story. (But really, sending a thank you note is the least you can do.)
Whole Foods has a section on its website called Health Starts Here, which offers resources and tools for healthy eating, including a number of recipes.