Wondering how you can avoid the 5-15 pound holiday weight gain, or even just avoid the bloat or other tummy issues?
Wanting to make your holidays healthier?
We have a special treat for you! Dr Liz Cruz, Gastroenterologist, has written a guest post for us today. She has some tips for us to make sure we stay mindful with our health goals.
These are great hacks and delicious ideas to keep us all on track! Thank you, Dr Cruz!
Holiday Health Hacks
~ Dr. Liz Cruz, Gastroenterologist
We are quickly approaching the holidays and many of my patients are asking me how to have a fun and enjoyable holiday season while still staying healthy. As a Board Certified Gastroenterologist I can honestly say that it is possible to have good gut health while still indulging a bit during the holidays.
- tips for how not to feel deprived when attending holiday parties,
- an Eat This, Not That Holiday Edition, and
- fun tips and snack ideas for the holidays with the kids.
How Not to Feel Deprived at Holiday Parties
- Don’t rush to eat when you get to the party.
- Socialize for a bit first. This will keep you away from the food table a little while longer.
- Also, don’t stand right next to the food while you are socializing.
- If you do, you may tend to snack on things without even realizing it. Mindless eating is the worst kind of eating.
- Find the food items at the party that you really enjoy and savor them.
- Skip the things you’re not extremely fond of. Why bother wasting calories and indulging on things you don’t really like that much in the first place?
- Moderation, moderation, moderation. Having sweet treats and fun holiday beverages are a must, but:
- Instead of having 4 or 5 desserts or 4 or 5 drinks, just have 1 or 2 of each. The less bad food and drink you put in, the fewer GI issues and the less recovery time you will experience. Plus remember – the more alcohol you drink, the more your inhibitions decline, so you are more likely to make bad health decisions the more you drink.
- This time of year when you are not attending a holiday party, try to do your best to eat healthier than you normally would to make up for the overindulging at parties.
- Maybe eat more salads than you normally would, or other green leafy vegetables. This will help compensate for the occasional sweet treat or alcohol drinking.
Eat This, Not That Holiday Edition
- When eating off the vegetable tray, consider dipping in hummus instead of ranch dressing
- Try chips and salsa instead of chips and crackers with cheese spreads or spinach artichoke-type dips
- When it comes to an antipasto, eat the olives and ditch the meat and cheese
- Track down the raw nuts and seeds instead of the pretzels and chips
- Consider dried fruits instead of fruit pies
- For great sources of protein consider edamame, shrimp cocktail, and bean dishes versus meat dishes
- Choose a green salad over a pasta or potato salad
- When it comes to beverages, lean toward champagne or light beer versus egg nog or creamy martinis
How to Use the Holidays as a Teachable Moment for Kids
- Eat Dinner Beforehand – we always eat a healthy lunch or dinner before heading out to our holiday parties. This makes our stomachs full so we’re not so hungry for party food (at least right away).
- Drink Lots of Water – with all the sugar we usually consume at parties, we know it’s important to compensate by drinking lots of water. We usually drink a bunch before we leave the house and bring a water bottle with us while we are at the party.
- Moderation is Important – don’t overindulge or take too much of any one thing. Leave some for the rest of the guests.
Healthy Kid Holiday Treats*
Fun with Veggies – making veggies with a holiday theme is so much fun.
- Take snowman and Santa veggie cups, for example:
- Take cauliflower, red peppers, and grape tomatoes and put them in little plastic cups where you can decorate the outside as a famous holiday character. Adding humus to the bottom of every cup for dipping makes it even more delicious.
- Create a veggie tray spelling out your favorite holiday word
It’s so much fun to get creative with healthy food!
Fun with Fruit – you can make all kinds of holiday themed treats out of fruit.
- Take the strawberry banana candy cane, or
- the strawberry Santa hats with banana fringe attached to a cute little green grape.
Eggs, Olives and Hummus – Another way you can get creative is with eggs, olives and hummus.
- Make olive penguins using olives and carrots.
- Make egg snowmen using eggs, carrots and parsley.
- You can also use pita bread and shape it however you’d like to form a tree, then add cilantro, hummus, and some diced tomatoes on top. Add a pretzel as a trunk and you have a nice healthy treat that is also super-festive.
*These recipes with pictures can be found on Pinterest.
I hope these tips help you to have a fun, enjoyable, yet healthy holiday season. If you eat and drink healthy a majority of the time, you should never feel guilty indulging a bit this time of year. Just be safe and know that every day is a fresh start to make healthy choices.
ABOUT DR. LIZ CRUZ:
Dr. Liz Cruz is a gastroenterologist, an author, and (most importantly) a parent of 4 children. A Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Cruz is widely praised for her all-natural, holistic approach to wellness and for effectively reducing the need for prescription medicine.
For More Information Visit www.drlizcruz.com