Breanna Barber, Nutrition Student
Celebration and joy, time with the people we love, and delicious food are often what comes to mind when thinking about the holiday season. But at the same time, these cold winter months may also be filled with busy schedules, stress and even sickness.
The hustle and bustle of a hectic holiday schedule pulls us in so many directions that we often forget to take time for ourselves. This winter, consider these tips to help you have a healthier, happier holiday season!Keep the Sugar Plums Dancing
Despite the extra list of things to do and people to see during the holidays, try to keep your sleep schedule regular. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will help you stay consistent. For most adults, 7-8 hours of sleep are recommended to keep your body well rested.1Win with Winter Workouts
For many of us, it’s more enjoyable to exercise in the summer when the sun is bright and the air is warm, but exercise is equally important to your body in the winter as it is in the summer. Find creative ways to exercise this winter. Brisk walks can be refreshing – and keep you on the move! Does it snow in your area? If so, enjoy a day of free entertainment and fitness– go sledding, have a snow castle building contest and finish the fun with a snowball fight with your family and friends. Try a new winter activity, such as ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and make the most of the winter weather!Don’t show up…hungry that is!
Before the work holiday party or a neighborhood gathering, be sure to have a balanced snack to curb your appetite. Grab a glass of V8® 100% Vegetable juice and a low-fat cheese stick, or a handful of mixed nuts and dried cranberries paired with a can of V8 V-Fusion® +Energy. How about little ones? Plum Organics® offers convenient and nutritious snack foods including Fruit Shredz®, Grammy Sammy®, and Mashups® that leave the kids feeling satisfied. When you prepare snacks and hors d’oeuvres, replace some of the salty, higher fat, crunchy snacks with some low-calorie, crisp vegetables. Prepare a colorful vegetable tray featuring broccoli and cauliflower florets, bell pepper strips, radishes, celery sticks, and Bolthouse Farms® baby-cut carrots, perfect for dipping into Bolthouse Farms® yogurt dressings. Cook a vegetable dish to provide guests with a nutritious and delicious option. Check out these Fruit and Vegetable Recipes for some inspiration.Savor Sweets Sensibly
What’s a holiday party without desserts? The holidays are a time to enjoy indulgent food, so there’s no need to cut them out completely, but try alternating a dessert with a healthier option. If you find rich desserts like cheesecake simply irresistible, split a slice with a friend or search online for a lighter version of your favorite recipe. When you reach for the cookies, grab one less and add a piece of fresh fruit! The sweet taste of fruit can be a welcome addition to your palate and plate. Many fruits pair well with chocolate for example.Play Mind Games
A bigger plate equals bigger portions. Research shows that calorie consumption increases with larger portion sizes and dishes.2 Visual cues play an important role in our eating habits, meaning we often rely on our eyes to determine when we’ve had enough rather than our stomachs.3 When possible, use a smaller plate for meals and snacks. It will look like a substantial plateful, but with less food, meaning fewer calories!4,5
The black dot on the right may appear larger than the one on the left, but they’re actually the same size. Apply this concept to your plate, and you’ll trick your brain into eating less.
Be a Social Butterfly
Think about a time when you were catching up with someone over lunch. It’s mostly talking and not very much eating. Am I right? Carry this idea over to your holiday parties. The more time you spend socializing with the people you love, the less time you spend by the table munching on the winter snacks that keep calling your name.Stay Warm and Toasty
Enjoy the comfort of seasonal specialties like hot mulled cider. Try aromatic and tasty slow cooker foods like homemade applesauce and cranberries. Sit by the fireplace, relax and sip on soup. Before you know it, it will be spring!Cheers!
Breanna is currently a senior at West Chester University, pursuing a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. This past summer she completed a 13 week internship at Campbell Soup Company in the Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs department. Her goal is to become a Registered Dietitian and inspire others to adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle. She developed a strong interest in community and family-oriented nutrition through various recent experiences, and believes that nutrition and healthy habits begin in the home and community.
1.Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Holiday health and safety tips.
http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/ Accessed May 28, 2014.
2.Rolls BJ, Roe LS, Meengs JS, Wall DE. Increasing the portion size of a sandwich
increases energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2004; 104(3) 367-372.
http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S0002-8223(03)01784-X/abstract Accessed August 13, 2014.
3.Wansink B, Painter JE, North J. Bottomless bowls: why visual cues of portion size may
influence intake. Obesity Research. 2005; 13(1) 93-100.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2005.12/full Accessed August 13, 2014.
4.Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What are some ways to eat healthy during the holidays? http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967607&terms=healthy%20holiday%20season Accessed May 27, 2014.
5.United States Department of Agriculture. Decrease portion sizes. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/weight-management/better-choices/decrease-portions.html Accessed May 27, 2014.