Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Racheal Yerkes, author of the food blog, Eazy Peazy Mealz. Some of her recipes are included below. She has no relationship with Nature’s Sunshine, and her opinions are her own.
Christmas and New Year’s are notorious for being a time of indulgent eating, and weight gain. But, with a little self control, and some healthier recipes, you can eat healthy, and enjoy your food without all the calories and bad-for-you stuff.
Did you know that according to recent statistics between Halloween and New Year’s the average American gains between one and two pounds?
This may not seem like a lot, but since that adds up over time — and most people are not losing one to two pounds a year and keeping it off — holiday weight gain does matter.
Tips to Keep the Pounds off During the Holidays
Help yourself stay healthy and keep the weight off with a healthy breakfast, plenty of hydration, exercise (without food rewards after), and healthy holiday meals.
Eat your breakfast.
- Research shows that meals high in fiber and protein can help keep you full longer, and give your body what it needs for the chaotic holiday season without compromising your health to do so. Most people’s indulgent meals fall in the evenings, so starting the day off right can help keep you on track, feeling fuller, and binge eating less. “You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein,” says Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, a nutritionist at Clay Health Club and Spa, in New York City.
Stay hydrated. It is good for your health and weight, but it also protects you from germs and bugs. According to Marc Leavey, MD, primary care physician at Lutherville Personal Physicians in Lutherville, Maryland, holiday travel can make “our airways more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria.” Staying properly hydrated keeps those mucous membranes moist so they can better keep bugs out of our systems. Try to stick to water rather than fizzy drinks high in added sugar and sweeteners. Milk/milk alternative is also a healthy choice, whilst the best kombucha can keep you hydrated whilst also improving your gut health. Fruit juice and smoothies are good for you too, but the high level of naturally occurring sugars means you should only have one serving a day.
Exercise, and don’t reward yourself with treats after. A lot of people think that if they exercise during the holidays they can over indulge in treats. And for many, exercise is walking the mall doing holiday shopping. “We tend to overestimate just how many calories we burn when we shop”, says Cris Slentz, PhD, exercise physiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “At most you burn 150 calories an hour if you weigh 150 pounds, and that’s a pretty generous estimate.”
Eat a healthy dinner. Healthy meals are key to a healthy holiday. It is easy to indulge in fattening, high calorie holiday indulgent meals, but why not shoot for healthier options, bake instead of fry, use greek yogurt instead of sour cream, opt for less butter, less cream, etc. Try a baked potato instead of mashed. Or go for sweet potatoes. There are tons of ways to substitute unhealthy options for healthy and still have your holiday favorites. For example, eat your salad, but leave off the fattening dressings and extra toppings. But whatever you do, eat a healthy dinner as this will help curb late night junk food cravings, and help fight the stress hormones that are part of the chaotic season.
And then try using some of these healthy (or at least healthier than traditional holiday food) meal ideas:
15 healthy meal ideas for Christmas and New Year’s
- These egg rolls can be baked instead of fried, and are filled with vegetables and seafood for a light, filling, and healthy meal.
2. Southwestern Chicken Salad: This salad is packed with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, protein, and flavor. http://www.eazypeazymealz.com/southwestern-chicken-salad/
3. Gluten Free Seafood Pot Pie: Not only is this pot pie gluten-free, but is offers a lot of vegetables, and fun, comforting meal without high calories. http://www.eazypeazymealz.com/gluten-free-seafood-pot-pie/
4. Garlic Rosemary Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce: Salmon is packed with healthy omega-3’s and fatty acids, great for a healthy and fancy holiday meal. http://www.eazypeazymealz.com/garlic-rosemary-salmon-with-creamy-dill-sauce
5. Pistachio Crusted Halibut: Halibut is a light, mild, flaky fish with tons of nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorus potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. http://www.eazypeazymealz.com/pistachio-crusted-halibut/
6. Easy Healthy Living Sweet Potato Harvest: Sweet potatoes offer flavor and a healthy alternative to a more calorie laden food like mashed potatoes. These are roasted with other vegetables and nuts for a filling, satisfying, and nutrient rich meal. http://www.eazypeazymealz.com/easy-healthy-eating-sweet-potato-harvest/
7. Butternut Squash Orzo Pasta: Butternut squash is full of fiber, and healthy nutrients, and this pasta offers a satisfying meal with a great health kick. http://ourlifetastesgood.blogspot.com/2014/11/butternut-squash-orzo-pasta-sundaysupper.html
8. Pesto Potatoes: These potatoes are a great healthy side with tons of flavor without all the extra calories often found with potato dishes. http://thatsmyhome.com/farmers/pesto-potatoes/
9. Red Wine Poached Pear Gorgonzola Salad: This is a decadent winter salad that has tons of flavor without tons of calories. http://flavormosaic.com/red-wine-poached-pear-gorgonzola-salad/
10. The Best Roasted Asparagus: Asparagus is a green vegetable that is loaded with things your body needs like fiber and folate, as well as antioxidants, and this is a fantastic way to prepare it. http://www.mamalovesfood.com/2013/10/the-best-roast-asparagus-ever.html
11. Stuffed Pepper Soup: Healthy, warm, and comforting, this soup packs a real punch. http://triedandtasty.com/2013/04/stuffed-pepper-soup/
12. Healthy Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie: A healthy version of a classic holiday comfort food, perfect for a gathering. http://triedandtasty.com/2013/08/healthy-sweet-potato-shepherds-pie-2/
13. Quinoa White Bean and Kale Soup: This soup is full of folate and antioxidant rich kale, healthy quinoa, and lots of protein rich beans. http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/slow-cooker-quinoa-white-bean-and-kale-soup/
14. One Pot Chicken Rice Veggie Fajita Bowls: These rice bowls offer tons of vegetables in a fun, out of the white flour tortilla, box! http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/one-pot-chicken-rice-veggie-fajita-bowls/
15. Kickin Chicken Street Tacos: Street tacos loaded with vegetables and protein rich lean chicken. http://thebestblogrecipes.com/2014/09/kickin-chicken-street-tacos.html