December 21, 2015 Have a Healthy Holiday!

Source: Linda Gilmour Kessler, RD   |  Category: Health & Nutrition, News, Recipes & Cooking

The holidays can be challenging time to eat healthy as we are surrounded by special treats such as sugar cookies, chocolates, shortbread, eggnog and other family food traditions.  How can you balance all these treats and still maintain healthy eating? Have a strategy!

Decide which special holiday treats you really enjoy and that are special to you. Then make a plan for when you are going to have them and savour and enjoy them! The goal is not to give up all your favourites but to be selective in deciding which treats are the ones you really enjoy and balancing those special treats with healthy eating.

Focusing on vegetables and fruit is a great way to focus on healthy eating throughout the holiday season. Check out the new Canadian campaign called Half Your Plate which promotes filling half of your plate at each meal with vegetables and fruits. Fill the remainder of your plate with meat or meat alternatives (1/4 of the plate) and potatoes, rice, whole grains or pasta (1/4 of the plate). For some delicious vegetable and fruit recipes, check out the website www.halfyourplate.ca or follow #halfyourplate.  

Here are some ways to incorporate vegetables and fruits and other healthy ideas for a healthy holiday season:

•    Start the day with a good breakfast. Add ground flaxseed to a fruit smoothie or to a bowl of oatmeal with berries. Eating a good breakfast with lots of fibre will help prevent you from overeating later in the day.
•    Eat a healthy snack before heading to a party to take the edge off your hunger. Include a protein food and either a fruit or vegetable. Have a mandarin orange and a few almonds, cheese and an apple or some carrots with hummus.
•    Focus on the veggie tray for appetizers. This is a great way to get a head start on filling Half Your Plate.
•    Aim to limit alcohol intake. Alcohol can contribute a lot of calories and can also lower your inhibitions which can result in overeating. Drink a wine spritzer, a light beer, or alternate between water and an alcoholic drink.
•    Choose flavourful roasted vegetables. These are often root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips or beets that are full of fibre and vitamins.
•    Choose salads and vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing, rather than heavy sauces or dressings.
•    Choose salads and side dishes with whole grains and pulses such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
•    Have a healthy dessert that includes fruit (or have one of your planned special indulgences!)
•    Give healthy gifts such as a coffee or spice grinder to grind whole flaxseed, cooking utensils, special ingredients like spices and flavoured vinegars or a collection of teas. #healthygift

By focusing on filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit this holiday season, you can enjoy those special holiday treats guilt-free!