Holidays are a precious time full of family, fun, and food! From baking cookies for Santa, decorating gingerbread houses to frying up a plate of latkes, sweet and fried foods are a staple in many holiday celebrations. However, the endless tins of cookies and hot cocoa bars can be stressful for some. We’re here to tell you that it is possible to eat balanced and enjoy the holiday traditions! Here are some tips to help you navigate eating a balanced diet while still enjoying the cheeseballs and tamales:
Listen to your body. It can be easy to overeat holiday treats, especially with food-centered traditions. Check in with your hunger and fullness cues, meaning: eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full!
- Step away from the table or throw your plate away when you get full
- Be sure to have a glass of water instead of a sugary drink when you feel thirsty
- Add fiber to your plate to help control hunger throughout the day. Here are some high fiber favorites: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Engage in social activities that involve movement such as walking with family or playing games.
Build a Balanced Plate
Whether you are grazing on small appetizer plates or attending a dinner party, make sure to build a balanced plate. A balanced plate includes fruit & vegetables, protein, whole grains, and yes, even a little dessert!
- Look for raw or cooked vegetables on the potluck table and be sure to add some to your plate
- If there is a salad, try to fill half the plate with that or other vegetables
- When getting desserts, split it between a sweet and fruit
- When choosing a beverage, try doing only 1 glass of punch, hot chocolate, or an alcoholic beverage and sticking with water the rest of the day
- When it comes to foods higher in saturated fat (fried foods, red meat, dishes with lots of butter) try having just 1 serving and see if that fills you up before getting seconds
- Always make a plate instead of hovering over the snack/dessert table
Bring the Healthy Variety
If you are unsure there will be any fresh fruits, vegetables, or whole grain options at an office holiday party or family potluck, bring it with you!
- Examples of balanced dishes include:
- Vegetable trays
- A side salad
- Whole grain dinner rolls
- Fruit, dark chocolate, and nut dessert tray
- Flavored, sparkling, unsweetened water for the cooler
- A roasted vegetable side dish
If you would like more information on nutrition, schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment with a dietitian at Adelante. Also, check out the links below for more information on healthy eating during the holidays:
5 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays (cdc.gov)
Making Healthy Holiday Eating Choices – Mayo Clinic News Network
5 simple strategies for healthier holidays | American Heart Association
Be sure to tune into our live cooking demo on Instagram Live and Facebook Live on Thursday, December 1st at 11am to learn how to create a balanced, holiday dish.
Bring the balance this holiday season with this Pesto White Bean Wreath: A festive snacking platter packed with fiber, healthy fats, and veggies! If you know there will likely be no other fresh vegetable options at your next holiday party, bring this easy-to-make, no bake, delicious appetizer!
Pesto White Bean “Wreath”
Vegetarian, gluten free (depending on dippers), for vegan- choose a dairy free pesto.
White Bean Dip:
- 1 can (15 oz) white/ cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ⅓ c olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Basil pesto (can be fresh or jarred)
- Cherry tomatoes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- Whole grain crackers or pita chips
- Optional: broccoli florets or bell pepper slices for dipping
- Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
- To assemble: spoon the bean dip onto a platter in the shape of a wreath or circle.
- Next, spoon the pesto over the bean dip to make a green wreath.
- Lastly, “decorate” the wreath with the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle the diced bell pepper over top to look like red ornaments and tree lights.
- Serve with whole grain crackers, pita chips, or other sliced vegetables of choice to dip.
Download the recipe here: