You know when Starbucks busts out those red cups that the holidays are just around the corner. Before you get lost in all the hustle and bustle, take the time now to make yourself a priority. There are no holiday parties or events to commit to at the moment, so while your calendar is clear, make the most of it!
Did you know the average Thanksgiving meal has 4500 calories? No, that is not a typo. Dark meat, white meat, dressing, gravy, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and if you if are in my family, lots of great red wine…. you see where I am going here. Too much at one sitting can lead to some lovely side effects: ingestion and flatulence (awesome). Eating a ridiculously large meal can also increase your risk for a heart attack, blood clots and even gall bladder problems. But fear not! By making some healthier choices now, you can enter the holidays ready to go! Here are this registered, licensed dietitian’s top 5 nutrition tips to prep for the holidays:
5 to 9 a dayYou have no excuse not to be eating your fruits and veggies right now. Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutritents! This is so doable. 6 fruit and veggies servings:
- Grab a piece of fruit in the morning before you head out the door and you are already two servings in! (With fruit so large these days, 1 whole banana, 1 apple, 1 orange all = 2 servings)
- Add lettuce/spinach and tomato to your sandwich and BOOM! There is another serving!
- Slice up bell peppers and cucumbers for a nice side with your sandwich. (1 cup raw veggies = 1 serving) Need some encouragement? Look for low calorie dressings to dip or even try hummus!
- Have a small salad before your evening meal (1 serving)
- ½ cup cooked veggies (1 serving) with your dinner and you are there!
Grill, bake or broil
- No need to indulge on fried bites! Cook those lean proteins on the grill or in the oven to save on fat and calories.
- Lean proteins help keep you fuller longer; satiety is such a beautiful thing during the holidays! Lean protein also helps stabilize your blood sugar. Pair lean protein with complex carbohydrates (like fresh fruit or whole grains) at each meal and snack.
Keep your gut happy with probioticsBacteria in your intestines help digest your food, fight harmful bacteria and support your immune system. Probiotics help keep these good for your bacteria happy! You don’t need a fancy supplement to keep your gut hormones in good spirits. All yogurt sold in the US of A has live, active cultures in it. Besides yogurt you can try kefir, fermented veggies like kimchi or sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kombucha and don’t forget to fill up on whole grains! Whole grains are high in fiber, which is the best way to positively impact those good for your gut bacteria!
Lay off the booze
I know, “Debbie Downer”, but booze is full of empty calories! Empty calories are calories that offer NO nutrition value.
- Light beer: 90-110 calories
- Wine (5 ounces): 125 calories
- Champagne (4.2 ounces): 80 calories
- Liquor (1.5 ounces): 95 calories
Pass on those high calorie traps
For the next few weeks, lay off high calorie foods like burgers, fries, pizza and sweets. You have a lot of awesome food about to be on your plate! Stick with those healthy choices and your body (and your GI tract) will thank you!
Caroline manages the internal wellness program to improve the health of Methodist Health System’s employee and dependent population. A University of Oklahoma graduate, Caroline has 10 years experience as a registered and licensed dietitian.