A Healthy Toast
December 6, 2011
Getting into the spirit of things this season? The holidays are a wonderful time to indulge in seasonal favorites like eggnog and comfort foods, but just like with twinkling lights and garland, moderation is a must. But don’t worry—there’s still plenty of holiday cheer to go around! Rather than stress about calories, shopping lists, or how quickly the year’s flown by, take a moment to simplify and enjoy harmony from within.
This year, we propose a toast celebrating health, happiness and wellness. With these simple tips and adjustments
to holiday traditions, you can indulge in your favorite foods and savor time with loved ones for a truly feel-good
Find Comfort in the Right Foods
Holiday favorites at the dinner table—like dark turkey meat, green beans with fried onions, mashed potatoes or Mom’s classic pecan pie—are extremely high in trans fats, carbs and sugar.
For a healthier holiday meal, focus on getting lots of proteins, vegetables, and whole grains. Whenever possible, choose a more wholesome alternative to traditional foods, like whole-wheat rolls instead of white bread rolls, light meat instead of dark meat, sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, and apple pie instead of pecan. Seek out nutritious versions of traditional recipes online, like these Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds, which are low-fat, gluten-free, and vegan, from the Whole Foods recipe collection.
Sip and Savor
Raise a glass of red wine and sip in its rich antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory benefits and protect skin from free radicals and signs of aging. If you simply can’t resist a little eggnog to ring in the holidays, opt for making it with low-fat or skim milk to reduce the calories. Regardless of what’s in your glass, make sure you’re drinking enough water.
Warming up by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa or apple cider is a delicious treat. For a real feel-good beverage, choose a hot cocoa that uses dark chocolate, or make your own with a bar that contains at least 70% cocoa and low-fat milk. For a healthier hot apple cider, forgo the rum and make your own at home to avoid the excess sugar in many store-bought ciders. Bonus points if you add cinnamon; studies have shown it can help reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels.
Feeling Warm on the Inside
Simplifying not only your menu but also your schedule is a great way to find balance and cherish peaceful moments during an otherwise busy time of year. During the holidays, let time slow down and spend it enjoying family and friends. Curl up on a sofa with a cup of tea or coffee and catch up, or take a brisk walk with your sister, your mom, or a favorite aunt. In this way, you get some exercise and also some one-on-one with a cherished loved one.
Make sure to take some for yourself, too. Even if your home is bursting with joy from out-of-town guests, spend a few minutes alone with your thoughts in the morning. A peaceful start to your day can set the tone for a truly enjoyable holiday season that nurtures your health and spirit.