You don’t have to give up on healthy eating habits just because it’s the holiday season! You’ve got a life to live afterwards and a body you want to keep in shape after the holidays are over. Eating clean is doable and easier than you think. Just swap in whole grains for refined ones, choose low-fat dairy products, and substitute out processed sugar for honey and cane sugar.
Read on for a few tips on healthy recipes and healthy eating habits to stick to during the holidays.
- Search for healthy offerings
Most people associate the holidays with high-calorie foods and meals. This typically leads to overindulging and regret, as well as frantic trips to the gym afterwards. Instead of automatically going to the unhealthy foods, think of raw vegetables, salads, and greens. Instead of unhealthy, high-calorie dressings, think of squeezing a lemon onto your greens or trying just a little olive oil. Don’t go over one to two ounces of cheese in a single meal, since cheese is high in fat. Do not buy food items emotionally just because they look delicious – take the time and do the research.
- Make the meal yourself
You want to eat something delicious and clean, and the best way to do that is to know what’s in your meal! Take charge and cook it yourself instead of eating out or relying on what others bring to a holiday party. Offer to bring “skinny” clean recipe options to the next party you attend.
- Zero-in on whole grains
One of the easiest ways to make “clean” recipes during the holidays is to stock your pantry with whole wheat and whole grain bread. Load up your plate with vegetables as well. If you typically include a lot of rice in your diet, then ensure you have stocked your kitchen with brown rice and stay away from white rice. Try quinoa, barley, or even millet for a variety of other, healthier grains.
- Celebrate your sides
You want to pump up your menu with a healthy amount of color, flavor, and texture – this is where side dishes come in handy. Make the side dishes attractive by using fresh seasonal produce. For a vegetable side platter, roast some veggies until they are caramelized, then add toasted walnuts and Kalamata olives. Don’t load up the mashed potatoes with butter or heavy cream, but instead liven the potatoes up with roasted garlic and fresh herbs.
- Downsize the dishes and top up with a beverage
Small dishes or plates will always help keep portion size under control and calories to a minimum. Looking for something to quench your thirst or keep you from reaching for a calorie-rich sweet treat? Try a sugar-free Southern sweet tea that won’t add to the calories, but will satisfy your sweet tooth, if you don’t know how to make sweet tea, Southern Breeze makes it easy with pre-sweetened tea bags.
Remember, you are working hard to keep those calories down by eating “clean” and reducing portion size. Focus on the benefits of healthy eating during the holidays and you’ll find it easier to resist the temptations of sugary and high-calorie meals!