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.


Diet or Exercise? Solutions for Weight Loss

Diet or Exercise? Solutions for Weight LossThe holidays are almost here. With this new season often comes weight gain that never goes away. Multiple studies have found that every year, around the holidays, Americans gain 1 lb that we never lose. This is bad news for anyone attempting to get fit and healthy.

However, you can overcome this issue. The holiday season from November through December is a high-risk period for anyone trying to lose weight. But “high risk” does not mean you have to give up and give in to temptation. Instead, the holidays are the perfect time to refine your weight-loss strategy and become vigilant about your diet.

What is the Most Effective Weight Loss Strategy?

Traditionally, both diet and exercise have played an active role in weight loss. However, studies have shown that diet counts more toward shedding pounds than exercise.

Many people have taken this information to mean they don’t need to exercise at all. Nothing is further from the truth. While you certainly may not need to exercise to lose weight, if your goal is to be healthy and look great, exercise is a vital part of your overall plan.

However, cutting calories is the most rapid method of losing weight. Here at Change for the Health of It, we concentrate on helping those on our weight loss program cut calories and drop pounds. Part of the calorie reduction process can mean people have little energy and feel “hangry” throughout the day. We utilize a proprietary formula for preventing this phenomenon.

One of the many elements in our proprietary formula is consumption of vitamin B12. This vitamin has many health benefits, from supporting metabolic processes to increasing energy. Utilizing this and other vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help you maintain your energy as you diet, allowing you to exercise as well.

Five Effective Dieting Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are a tough time to stick to a healthy diet. There is sugar everywhere, tons of food as well as food-based holidays. Here are five tips for sticking to your diet, even though the holidays are coming:

  1. Maintain your food diary. Food diaries are a great dieting tool. They help you keep track of what you’ve been eating and contribute to keeping you honest. If you have a particularly bad day on your diet, your food diary can help you understand what made it so rough. This information helps you and your health coach evaluate how to stop you from becoming tempted to break your diet in the future.
  1. Stay accountable. People hire health coaches for two reasons. First, coaches help people use effective dieting practices and stay healthy during a diet that they have not previously utilized. Second, a coach keeps you accountable for your dieting actions. It’s easy to slip up when there’s no one to report to, but when there is someone that you must inform about your slip up, more thought goes into what you are eating.
  1. Do not binge. Thanksgiving, holiday parties and other holiday meals all encourage binging. There is just so much food available and so many courses. Instead of eating everything on the table, pick a small portion of each item that you want to munch on – leaving room for a little dessert.
  1. Keep up your diet and exercise routine. Too many people starve themselves all day so that they can justify the sheer volume they eat at night. Do not fall into this trap.
  1. Bring some healthy food to the table. Healthy food is delicious too and deserves its spot at the holiday table. Instead of green bean casserole, how about just making baked or boiled green beans tossed with a bit of olive or coconut oil? Instead of apple pie, make baked apples with cinnamon and a little brown sugar. Instead of regular ice cream, make homemade frozen yogurt or coconut milk ice cream. Who knows, shaking things up at the holiday table may come as a relief to all of your holiday guests.

If you would like more information on weight loss, be sure to attend our “Why Can’t I Lose Weight” class at Oregon City’s Curves. It’s on September 20th. Or, just give us a call and find out how we can help! We have an effective weight loss program which has helped many professionals – even physicians. Find out more right here.