For many, the holidays are centered on food. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry, Yule log, eggnog, and various spirits not only help liven up the season, but they practically hold it up.
If you’re struggling with weight, high blood sugar, or high blood pressure, the season can be especially difficult. It’s tough when you have your health to think about and any indulgence seems like a guilty pleasure. But just because you don’t have optimal health doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the seasonal delights.
The holidays can still be a period of relative indulgence as long as you go about it strategically. Scheduling healthy meals and exercise can help you from falling too deep into a hole, while working to manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight.
But that’s not all you’ll need. Taking a moment to identify the tastes you really love and planning an attack is also key.
The first step is to think about the stuff you really look forward to. Once you’ve locked those flavors in, it becomes easier to avoid the stuff you don’t like. It’s doubtful you’ll snack on shortbread cookies and candy canes if you’re looking forward to stuffing and fudge.
The next step is knowing when to have it. The challenge of staying healthy over the holidays is selecting when to indulge and when not to. If your daughter-in-law’s stuffing isn’t great, then pass on it until you’re at your sister’s party.
Paring down is another component of a healthy seasonal eating strategy. You don’t have to go without the eggnog, just have less of it. To get the flavor you crave, fill a glass with skim milk and then top it off with a touch of eggnog. This will allow you to get the taste you want without all the calories (and sugar) that a full glass of eggnog would provide.
The same goes for dessert. Having a couple of small pieces of fudge, or splitting a slice of Yule log with somebody else is an easy way to get the taste without going overboard.
Two more healthy strategies for a happy indulgent holiday are:
- Using herbs and spices to season instead of salt.
- Having a glass of water or sparkling water between each alcoholic beverage.
Health conditions don’t always mean you have to give up in the holiday treats you love. You can still taste them, just don’t go overboard!