Find that Healthy Twist to Make Holiday Foods, Drink Healthier

by Cathy Clements, Nutritionist & Life Coach, NSAM, CNC, CPT, FNS, WFS

November is a month filled with memories of fires in the fireplace, big sweaters, sitting outside in the evening chill talking to family and friends — and enjoying comfort foods.

These foods usually are heavier, higher in fats and carbohydrates. As a kid I loved that we ate this food when family came to visit. Mom made certain treats just this time of year. Dad barbecued the turkey, with mom cooking all the traditional sides and desserts. And oh the leftovers.

I have changed some of these. I’ve switched from starchy sides to roasted vegetables and homemade cranberry sauce. Instead of cornbread or white bread in my stuffing, I use wild rice, nuts and dried fruits. Find your own healthier twist.

Also, remember to drink water. We dehydrate quickly in the dry air and higher altitude.

If you don’t drink water consistently, start with drinking water until your urine is clear. To make drinking plain water less boring, I suggest adding non-sugared flavors such as lemon, lime, both lemon and lime, mint, cucumbers or ginger.

Or, have herbal tea. I love a sweet cinnamon herbal tea. Remember, caffeinated drinks, cold or warm, dehydrate us to an extent. Coffee may disrupt sleep.

When we socialize with family and friends, we tend not to pay attention to what we are drinking and eating. Consider drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.

With food, I always say make the calories count. If you are going to eat it, make sure it’s worth the calories. If you are engaged with the food preparation, find ways to cut down or replace the ingredients that aren’t beneficial.

And, you can always get moving more to compensate for the additional calories.

This has been a challenging year. I know I am ready to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. You can have great connection and still not put yourself into a food/drink coma.