The holidays are often an opportunity to gather around delicious food with our family and friends, as a way to come together. And while it is easy to get wrapped up in the season that puts an emphasis on rich, decadent flavors, it is also a time to think about how food can bring us together and fuel us towards better health.
At Farmbox, we like to think of Food as Medicine, meaning that we believe food can be a form of preventative care if we focus on healthy eating as a way to prevent diseases and medical problems from arising. Depending on the types of foods we feed our body, profound healing can take place within. And while this is our core belief year-round, it is one that can positively impact your holiday eating regime, and help you to stay aligned to your health-related goals.
Let’s be clear, you can have a healthy holiday season and still indulge in your favorite dishes! As with any wellness journey, there can be some wiggle room as you find a balance between eating nutritious foods that fuel your brain and body, in addition to eating those yummy holiday classics. Here are a few tips for you to have a healthier holiday season:
Practice eating mindfully – With so much food around, it can be easy to already begin thinking of second servings while you are still on the first plate. When thoughts like this arise, take a moment to be mindful, or aware, of these thinking patterns. Before you fix another plate, take a few minutes in between to let your food digest calmly before adding more food into your system. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full, so remember to slow down. Instead of rushing through your meal, use this time to engage in conversation with those around you. Not only will this improve your digestion, but you will also find that you probably eat smaller portions when you slow down your pace of eating.
Chew your food – While this sounds obvious, properly chewing your food is one of the easiest ways to improve your food experience. When consuming food as quickly as possible, you might not be able to fully recognize all of the flavors presented in each bite. Try chewing your food 20-40 times to really appreciate the tastes. This is one way to make more of a connection with the food and help prevent overeating. When you notice the textures, temperature, and spices which make each dish unique, you are becoming more mindful of the eating experience.
Go for the veggies – Vegetables typically come as an afterthought when there are so many other dishes on the table. For healthier holiday eating, start by building your plate around veggies. Not only will it make your meal more nutrient-dense, but the vitamins and minerals found in the vegetables will result in you feeling more satisfied and light after eating. If you are worried there won’t be any vegetable-based plates at your holiday celebration, politely ask the host if you can prepare a dish beforehand and bring it to the feast. This will make it easier to stay on your health journey, while also introducing a healthy, holiday alternative to your loved ones.
Snack beforehand – A common practice on days when you know you will be eating a lot of decadent food, is to “save up” for the big meal by not eating beforehand. This can lead to overeating as it dramatically fluctuates your blood sugar levels, which can then lead to the dreaded “food coma” that comes as a result of overeating. Don’t be afraid to eat a light snack before dinner with something as simple as a protein and carbohydrate combination. (Think: greek yogurt and apple slices, or all natural (no sugar added) peanut butter on a slice of whole-wheat toast.)
To decrease excess calories, sugar, and fat, try experimenting with some healthy food swaps:
And there you have it. We’re wishing you a healthy, happy holiday season!