Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Healthy Holiday Choices

I can't look at this picture and not be happy. I love the holidays! I love having my great big family and extended family and friends that are family surround me. I love making things for them, and being with them. I love making sure we do the things that we always do, and I love finding new traditions to start (or never ever do again)

We love these people in our lives - We need to take care of them in the best way possible. Give ourselves healthy habits and make being healthy a positive way of life and not something that everyone dreads. 

It doesn't have to start all at once. Make one little choice each day (or each week, or each month). Every little bit of positive action adds good to your life and good to the world as we teach our children and influence others. 

Here are a few ideas of little steps that you can start. Don't look at this as a list that you have to complete the entire thing, but maybe as a spark of ideas that will inspire you to make that first (or Next) step that will be best for you.

Create Makeovers
Makeover your favorite holiday dishes. The internet is full of ideas on how to change favorite dishes to make them healthier. Perhaps don't start with changing Great Great Granny's Corn Souffle', but maybe try a healthier sweet potato recipe.

Enjoy All the Food Groups
Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer; add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green-leaf salad; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Always always have a veggie tray for healthy snacking. Enjoy fruit-infused water with your meal instead of soda.

Make Sure Your Protein is Lean
Turkey, roast beef, fresh ham, beans, and some types of fish, are lean protein choices. When serving meats, trim away any fat before cooking. This can be an easy choice that you make while you are grocery shopping and so you aren't "tempted" to make unhealthy choices when you are at the table. The people that you love will also appreciate you taking better care of their health too. Remember: Go easy on the sauces and gravies ― they can be high in fat and sodium.

Bake Healthier
Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half. Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt. I highly recommend doing a Test-Bake before you present your finished product as the Grand Finale of your Holiday meal, but you'll be Very pleasantly surprised at how delicious and easy healthy baking is.

Savor the Sweet
Cut pieces of cake and pies smaller - offering smaller serving sizes automatically helps you eat less dessert. For a healthy dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie. Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

Be the Life of the Party
You love these people, you want to be with these people. Turn off the TVs, put down your phones and make some memories. Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

Make Movement a Part of the Fun 
Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Start Thanksgiving with a neighborhood (or family) football game. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits. Bust out some classic fun with a game of charades, blind man's bluff, or if you have a really close family - play some Twister.

Enjoy Leftovers
Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews. The possibilities are endless! - And delicious!!

Give to Others
Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.