Is It Possible to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays?

Is It Possible to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays?Fat, sugar, and salt dominate many holiday recipes. This can make it seem tough to stay healthy or keep weight off over the holiday season. After all, who would dare change grandma’s famous stuffing? The answer is, you would!

It’s certainly possible to make healthy substitutions, even in classic holiday recipes. Try these holiday recipe hacks to make absolutely delicious (and much more healthy!) holiday meals:

Substitutions are allowed

There are many meals where you can use some sleight of hand and no one will know the difference. Here are several ways you can add nutrition to food and strip out unnecessary health hazards, without sacrificing taste:

Fat: Your baked goods have a lot of fat in the form of butter or shortening binding things together. Instead of using only fatty substances as binders, try healthy foods like unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana. If you’re a dedicated cook, you can also take inspiration from the classic cowboy cake recipe and boil raisins down into a sticky mass and use that as part of your binder. Just remember that fruit adds more than binding ability, it adds moisture to a recipe. So, experiment before you serve your guests.

Sugar: Many healthy options beat out white sugar every time. These include raw honey, dates, stevia, coconut sugar, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, and brown rice syrup.

Another option that is particularly applicable over the holidays is to go a little heavier on the spices and lighter on the sugar. Some extra vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice mixed with a half tablespoon of molasses and only half of the sugar required by the recipe can still make a delicious pie filling. Just add about 1/4th extra spice and see how everything tastes!

Wheat: Many people say that stuffing or the dinner rolls are their favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal. Fortunately, there are many, many options when it comes to flour. You aren’t stuck with wheat. Here are several flours you can try this holiday season: almond, amaranth, barley, bean (mix with sorghum flour to counteract any bitter flavor), rice, buckwheat, chestnut, chia seed, coconut, cornmeal, hemp, lupin, Montina, oat, quinoa, and spelt. Some of the above-listed flours have the added benefit of being gluten free!

Salt: While you probably shouldn’t replace the amount of salt required in a baked recipe, you can usually cut the salt required by many meals by half. And, here’s a trick: add citrus in place of salt. This can make your taste buds think they are enjoying salt when they aren’t.

Rein in the excess

Food surrounds us during the holiday season. Here are a three tips to help you rein in the excess while you are eating or cooking:

  1.  Use smaller plates. Whether you are hosting a party with little treats or a full-fledged dinner, smaller plates will help your friends and family eat smaller portion sizes while still feeling as if they are eating their usual holiday feast.
  1. Pair down the toppings. Instead of smothering foods in toppings like cheese or whipped cream, serve just a dollop. Your guest will get to enjoy the delicious food without just tasting a topping.
  1. Cut thin slices. Pre-cutting thin, even slices of pie or turkey can help keep portions reasonable without anyone feeling as if they are being short changed in the food department.

It can be such a fun challenge to add nutrition to traditionally sugary or unhealthy recipes! Be sure to share your favorite healthy recipes with us on our Facebook page this holiday season – and let us know if you come up with an additional way to add nutrition to a holiday classic.

References:

https://www.craftybaking.com/learn/ingredients/flour-and-grains/non-wheat

The Holidays are Coming! And It’s Time to Destress

The Holidays are Coming! And It’s Time to DestressThe holiday season can be a stressful time for many of us. It’s possible that you have many obligations, you may have to “get along with” people you’d rather not talk to, or you might be hosting family or friends in your home. This can all skyrocket your stress level – but it doesn’t have to.

Sugar and Stress

One of the many contributors to rising stress levels in our nation this holiday season is the sheer volume of sugar that so many of us eat during this time of year. Your blood sugar level can be an enormous cause of stress.

When your glucose levels are stably in a healthy range, you can function at your best. However, when blood sugar levels spike or get too low, your body becomes stressed out and begins making a hormone called cortisol. This is the same hormone your adrenal glands produce when you’re in a frightening or upsetting situation.

There are many ways that you can spike your blood sugar levels. The most obvious methods of increasing blood sugar this season is erratic eating patterns and eating way too much sugar.

So, here are a few dos and don’ts that can help you keep your blood sugar level stay stable this holiday season:

Do: Eat in moderation.

Don’t: Just eat dessert.

Do: Eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

Don’t: Skip a meal because you are waiting for your giant meal in the evening (even on Thanksgiving!)

Do: Keep up your exercise schedule.

Don’t: Drink coffee or alcohol all day long.

Do: Monitor your energy levels.

Don’t: Throw caution to the wind and eat or drink anything you want.

With these simple tips, you can keep your blood sugar level on an even keel this holiday season.

Dealing with Common Holiday Stressors

Unfortunately, the holiday season can cause stress in more ways than one. So, just avoiding sugar and keeping up your regular schedule may not cut it this year. Typical holiday stressors like the anxiety you may feel in large crowds, worry that you will gain weight, and dealing with difficult relatives may make this holiday season feel less than jolly. That’s why we are providing five additional tips for dealing with common holiday stressors:

  1. Keep taking your Vitamin D.

Remember, the days are getting shorter, and you are getting less and less sunlight. That means you’re losing out on stress-busting Vitamin D! So, make sure you take Vitamin D throughout the fall and winter

  1. Don’t overcommit yourself.

Your time and energy are precious commodities. Budget them out accordingly. If you don’t want to go to a holiday get-together, don’t commit to going. If your youngster wants to see Peacock Lane, Zoo Lights, and go see Santa, start early and don’t promise to hit all of the sights.

This also means that you need to take out some “me” time this holiday season. Give yourself permission to relax in the tub, bike through your favorite park, or just to hang out in front of a crackling fire. The holidays are about giving – which means you are allowed to give to yourself.

  1. Plan ahead.

Mark your holiday get-togethers and activities on your calendar now and then block out days or even weeks where you are not allowed to schedule any other holiday appointments. Get your shopping done as early as possible. You can even make menus for any holiday meals you are hosting and shop for nonperishable ingredients now to get a jump on the season.

  1. Be as accepting as possible.

Because this is an election year, there will likely be political talk at some family gatherings – and it’s possible that not every one of your family members will agree with your ideas. Or it could be that you have family who simply rubs you the wrong way. Try to be open to other’s notions during your holiday festivities.

  1. Take advantage of our stress relief services.

Here at Change for the Health of It, we are offering an effective stress relief procedure called BioScan SRT. This system utilizes acupuncture, biofeedback, homeopathy, and laser light technology to help identify and balance your body’s response to specific stressors. Just click here or give us a call to set up your appointment.

We hope these tips will help you avoid holiday stress this season. If you are concerned about chronic stress, need help managing your weight, or are just hoping for some stress relief, contact us. We are here to help you Change for the Health of It!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946447/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751798/