• SeniorNews

Healthy Holidays

By Kayla Olmstead, MS, RD, CD

The holidays always pose a challenging time for us all to maintain our healthy eating. By the end of the winter holiday season, Americans are about 1.3 pounds heavier than their thinnest point in the year! With countless desserts, holiday meals & drinks, and family gatherings, it becomes substantially harder to eat healthy. While it is important to always watch what you are eating, it is also not going to break the scale if you enjoy some of your favorite desserts. One saying that is helpful during the holiday season is that, “One meal won’t make you perfectly healthy, while one meal is not going to make you unhealthy.” Let’s take a look at some ways to keep the healthy in the holidays this year.

Healthy eating is characterized by balance, so don’t hesitate to enjoy your favorite dessert. Some helpful tips to maintain your weight during the holiday season is to avoid eating one large meal, position yourself away from the buffet table at family gatherings, bring a healthy dish to pass to your holiday event, and monitor liquid calories consumed at holiday parties. Another helpful tip is to watch portion sizes of the various menu items you eat at your holiday celebrations. Overall, it is important to be keeping a mindful watch on what you are eating during the holidays, while still enjoying your favorite dishes!

The holidays are full of delicious foods created with signature holiday spices. One of these spices includes allspice. This spice is often used in classic holiday dishes like pecan pie and apple cider. In addition to the incredible flavor, allspice adds antioxidant compounds that have demonstrated antitumor properties. One of my favorite holiday spices is cinnamon. While it has many antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, cinnamon is widely known for its ability to lower blood sugar. Another essential holiday spice is ginger. Ginger is well-known for its ability to decrease nausea and motion sickness.

It is important to stay hydrated throughout the winter months. You can make sure to keep hydrated while traveling by packing a water bottle in your purse or bag when traveling. During the snowy winter months, it may also seem difficult to keep active. If the sidewalk is snowy and icy a better option might be to take a trip to your local indoor shopping mall with a friend. Also make sure to tell your family members about any dietary restrictions so they can help accommodate your needs. Lastly, remember to take time to rest after traveling and enjoy time with your family members. It is important to slow down and take time for yourself. Happy Holidays!

Monthly Challenge ideas:

• Bring a healthy dish to pass to your family gathering

• Monitor your liquid calories

• Avoid eating one large meal per day

• Create a new recipe with holiday leftovers

• Try ginger gummies to treat motion sickness on your holiday travels

Content from: GWAAR Nutrition Team in Collaboration with UW Stout Dietetic Student Nicki Lehtinen, Emily Preston

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