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Posted by skl on 2012-12-19 15:12
Over the Christmas holidays, it can be a real challenge to make healthy choices. After all, December is filled with social gatherings, celebrations, cultural traditions and all the food that goes with them. A little indulgence is OK, but it is important to be consistent throughout the year, including holidays and special occasions. A few changes over the years have helped us make food less of a Christmas focus and central theme. We now enjoy a more balanced approach to wellness and how we spend time with friends and family during the festive season.
Set the holiday tone. Let your family and friends know that making healthy choices throughout the year is important and a long-term commitment. Lead by example and incorporate a few healthy Christmas practices into your holidays.
Plan ahead. Know where and when you might encounter challenges or temptations and plan your counter-attack accordingly.
- Instead of a Christmas cookie exchange, how about a healthy recipe exchange or a herb/spice or tea exchange?
- Plan to volunteer together.
- Coordinate a craft activity; create homemade gifts for family or friends or as gift donations.
- Serve healthy meals and snacks as the new “traditional” menu items (with less calories, fat and sodium). Use healthy cooking methods and highlight vegetables, fruit and whole-grain dishes. Offer light and nutritious desserts like fruit salad, yogurt, panna cotta, fruit crisps or cobblers.
- Stock up and have healthy foods at home in the pantry, fridge and freezer so there are good-for-you options available to grab-and-go, satisfy a hunger pang or to get a meal on the table quickly.
Exercise willpower (my own personal guidelines)
- Don’t go anywhere on an empty stomach; eat a healthy snack beforehand.
- If eggnog is one of your favourites, offer to bring a low-fat version.
- Use a small plate: this will help control the amount of food you load up.
- Watch portion sizes; load up on fruit and vegetables.
- Enjoy your dessert in small bite-size tastings.
- Enjoy physical activity every day - make this a priority.
Merry Christmas and have healthy, happy New Year!