Eating Well in the Holiday Season

The Physicians Committee
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Eating Well in the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and with hectic schedules and the temptation of pies and cookies lurking around every corner, eating well can be a difficult feat. Healthful eating is well worth it though, as research shows that the weight you put on during the holiday season sticks around for the long-term. Here are some tips to make sure you keep your waistline down and your health on track during this holiday season.

A high-fiber, low-fat diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will provide optimal health benefits and will keep your weight stable. The antioxidants and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables have disease-fighting powers, and eating foods high in fiber will keep you feeling fuller longer, so you won’t be tempted by another slice of pie. Fiber is additionally beneficial because it lowers cholesterol levels.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to avoid processed foods. By doing this, you avoid ingesting dangerous fats, excess salt and sugar, and a host of other harmful chemicals. Animal products are full of saturated fat and cholesterol, so limiting your meat intake will also combat weight gain and will lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Making warm and hearty vegetable-heavy dishes, such as vegetable casseroles or bean-and-vegetable chili, will give you holiday comfort without the extra pounds. If you are baking, substitutions can transform unhealthful dishes; for example, you can monopolize on the natural sugars in fruits, such as dates, to make delectable treats.

Travel can be an integral part of the holidays, but grabbing snacks while rushing around the airport or stopping at a gas station can be disastrous for your health. Fortunately, there are many easy grab-and-go snacks which will keep you full and energized during your travels. Hands down, the best and easiest snack is fresh fruit. Mandarin oranges, apples, and bananas are portable and provide you with energy, fiber, and vitamins. Dried fruit and trail mix, which can be found all over airports and train and gas stations, will provide a healthful boost of energy. Crunching into baby carrots is an easy alternative to eating a bag of chips. For more filling options, choose instant soups or grab a whole-wheat bagel. Also, drink plenty of water to make sure your hunger pangs aren’t really caused by dehydration.

Remember that food is energy, and paying attention to what you put in your body will pay off in the long run. By making healthier choices now, you can stop stressing about holiday weight gain and other health risks caused by poor eating habits.