Keeping The Family Well-Fed & Healthy During The Holiday Season
Don’t let the holiday treats & special gatherings break your cycle of healthy living. Here are some tips to stay merry as you celebrate, shop & travel this holiday season!
It’s important to aim for real whole foods. Reach for a variety of colorful veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, & organic/ grass fed meat. Avoid GMO’s, food dyes, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and other ingredients you don’t recognize. Eat small portions, frequently. This will keep your blood sugar from dropping & keep you from indulging,
If you don’t usually use a crock pot throughout the year, now is the time to break it out! With the hustle & bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to nix making dinner and order out. However, this usually means less healthy food for you family! Even if all you do is make plain chicken in your crock pot (chicken + 1/2 cup of water & S+P), you can do so many things with shredded chicken! You can make chicken wraps, tacos, chicken salad, enchiladas, topped on baked potatoes & more! So easy, simple & versatile! Sundays are for family time so we usually make a “Pot Roast”. Place Heinens ‘Beef Chuck’ in a crock pot & add lots of salt, pepper, garlic, & carrots, 1 cup of beef broth, 1/8 cup red wine vinegar and cook on low for 8 hours. Add 5 TBSP of organic ketchup at the end. This is a great Sunday comfort meal that saves you time since you make it in the morning! Easy peasy.
The recommended amount of added sugar per day for women is 6 teaspoons (24 grams) & 9 for men (36 grams). Kids are supposed to eat less than 6 teaspoons/day. Eating sugar releases the feel good hormone, dopamine, from your brain. However, having a high sugar intake increases your risk for many diseases & also keeps you craving more unhealthy food. Sugar weakens your immune system for a few hours after you consume it. Try to get in the habit of reading food labels. Kids juice boxes usually contain a lot of sugar and is an easy swap- just switch to water. If you are using sugar in a recipe, try swapping it for coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index, is a 1 : 1 replacement to white sugar, and offers more vitamins & minerals than white sugar.
Fat + Protein.
This is super important! Eating enough healthy fats & protein help you stay full longer, and also help regulate your blood sugar so it doesn’t spike and drop leading to eating more (and also mood swings). The holidays are a happy time :) 3 pm is usually a time where you feel you need to reach for a snack with protein & fat to keep you satiated until dinner. This applies to your kids too!
Snacks: 1. Homemade trail mix (pumpkin seeds, cashews, Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips, almonds, sunflower seeds). 2. Boiled eggs + carrots. 3. Hummus, Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers + veggies. See “Grab-N-Go Snacks” for more ideas!
Bring a Healthy Dish to the Party.
Be the person who brings a healthy side dish to share at holiday parties. This way you can dig in too! Pomegranate Avocado salsa is a perfect, festive and healthy dish that is a crowd pleaser. If you want to skip the hassle of making a dish- Heinen’s has a prepared broccoli slaw that is delicious. Serve in a white bowl to make it Martha Stewart style & festive :)
Hot Lemon Water.
Simple changes lead to more simple changes that make a big impact in the long run. Drink warm water with ½ lemon squeezed into your water when you first wake up in the morning. We wake up dehydrated since we’ve been sleeping for 7 + hours. Lemon contains vitamin C, and also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties which helps your immune system immensely! Lemon also acts as a digestive and a detoxifying agents in cleaning the liver which helps your digestive health. This is a small, but powerful change you can make for your health.
Have a drink, but not too many! When you’re at a gathering, try to limit yourself to two drinks and have a glass of water in between. Avoid artificial syrups or flavors that have added sugar. If you like beer, dark beer has more antioxidants that light beer. Try gluten free beer. Whatever you do, alternate alcoholic drinks with water; for every cocktail you drink, hydrate with a glass of water. This will help prevent a hangover.
Better for you beverages:
1. Cocktail. Vodka + soda water + colorful berries to garnish.
2. Wine Spritzer. Fill 2/3 of your glass with seltzer or mineral water. Fill the last third with your favorite wine!
Exercise to lift your mood, increase your energy levels, strengthen your muscle & bones, and help with relaxation and quality of sleep (which is much needed around the holidays!) Get your kids involved with a family workout or even make a fun obstacle course to do together. Our kids are watching us everyday. If they see us moving, they are likely to move as well!
[ A few basics you don’t want to forget: wash your hands & teach your kids to do the same, stay hydrated and most importantly, don’t feel guilty about indulging here and there. There’s no need to feel guilty about Grandma’s famous apple pie. STRESS LESS! When we are stressed, we are more likely to fall in to bad habits and reach for unhealthy food. Keep in mind the reason we celebrate the holidays & what is important :) Happy Holidays everyone! ]
**This blog was sponsored by Heinen’s