Healthy Holiday

Say what? Is it possible? Starting from Halloween, then onto Thanksgiving, and finally closing out the year with the usual celebrations, we are given many reasons to overindulge and add a few pounds to the scale.

Beyond the extra weight, it’s also a time to overspend, exercise less, drink more and get sick. Do we really need to have that experience? Thankfully, the answer is no. The thoughtful decisions we make now can help our New Year’s resolutions next year. The idea is to think in terms of moderation.

In preparing your upcoming Thanksgiving meal, why not make a few adjustments to exchange the food coma for quality time with friends and family. “Healthy” doesn’t have to mean bland, boring, or basic. Though the word does suggest a step away from heavy cream and salt, and deep-fried foods.

Some things to think about:
* Remember your veggies – your meal is not complete without those important side dishes. Think roasted veggies, bright and light green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and sautéed swiss chard or kale with garlic and onions. Your vegetables (when not overcooked) are packed full of phytonutrients and fiber, and also happen to be low in calories.

* Savory seasonings – Spruce up your dishes with herb-infused oils, gourmet sea salts and spice blends. A touch of truffle sea salt to mashed potatoes or vegetables helps to infuse a lot of flavor without having to add cream or butter. Also, there are many variety of herb seasoning blends that do wonders to waken up your palate.

* Heart healthy fats – In most of your recipes for both savory dishes and baked treats, you can substitute the butter or margarine for olive oil. Try looking for a more smooth and buttery olive oil (vs. grassy or peppery) for baking. Avoiding those extra saturated and trans fats will help keep your cholesterol levels in check.

* Eating just the right amount – Bring some awareness into your food experience and enjoy every bite, not just the first and last bites. The awareness helps you also to sense the feeling of fullness. If you feel full, it’s ok to stop and enjoy the conversations at the table. You’ll find that the pause in eating will help the satiety signals from your stomach to reach your brain so you don’t have to ask for seconds (or thirds). The best part is, you get leftovers the next day without all the cooking and cleaning.

* Don’t go hungry – Remember that Thankgiving dinner is just one meal in your day. Keep your metabolism strong by eating your breakfast, snack, and lunch on that same day as well. Skipping those meals will just make you more hungry by dinnertime, therefore more prone to overeating and craving sugar and fats.

These simple suggestions go a long way in helping you to stay balanced through the holiday with all the fun and less regret. Your body and mind will be happy.
Dr. Nguyen can help you stay on the healthy track, she sees clients in the Spa at Tranquil Space M-F. Call 202-328-9642 to schedule a Naturopathic appointment.

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