by Anna Tran, RDN, LD
With the transition from hot summer days to cooler nights, ice-cold sweet tea to pumpkin-spiced hot drinks, and spring mixed fruit salads to hearty stews, this winter season, we are ecstatic to share healthier alternatives for recipes that feed not only the body but also the soul.
During the winter, when the holidays are in full swing, it can be challenging to stay healthy. Rather than focusing on cutting back, let’s focus on what we can add in. Any comforting dish can be made healthy with the addition of good carbohydrates, protein, fruits and veggies. Here are some tips on how you can stay healthy during this winter season.
When considering how you’ll be adding color and flair to your holiday dishes, think seasonal fruits and vegetables. Each colorful fruit and vegetable can provide a variety of health benefits such as:
With the addition of fiber and other nutrients, you can stay full for longer. Pile your plate first with delicious fruits and vegetables.
Whether you’re celebrating on your own or with your family and friends, make memories by including your favorite activities in between. Some ideas can include decorating your home, dancing to music, walking outside or playing interactive board games with your loved ones. By slowing down, we can incorporate physical activity into the day without having to find time in our hectic schedule to go to the gym. It’s a win-win situation!
Recipe from TasteofHome.com
Recipe from MinimalistBaker.com
Recipe from ForksOverKnives.com
There’s no reason to pass up on all of your favorite nostalgic holiday meals. Rather than saying no to all of your favorite foods, practice moderation and mindfulness. When we are too restrictive with foods, we tend to eat larger amounts of less healthy options. If you love pumpkin pie, let yourself have a slice. Make it a conscious decision and don’t feel guilty about enjoying your favorite meals.
This is an easy one to understand, but a difficult one to practice in reality. During your holiday schedule, things can get hectic, but prioritizing sleep will help your body function at its best. Sleep keeps us healthy both physically and mentally. When we are sleep-deprived, we tend to crave higher-calorie foods to compensate for the lack of energy that we have. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you have a healthier, happier, and more productive day.
Winter can leave us craving hot chocolate or pumpkin spiced coffee with a lot of whipped cream. Comforting drinks that keep you warm tend to be high in calories. Enjoying the occasional higher-calorie drink is great, but making it an everyday occurrence can lead to weight gain. Instead, try a variety of hot teas or low-calorie coffee drinks to promote comfort and good health. If you want a sweeter taste, try adding honey, agave nectar or other sugar substitutes.
While enjoying the winter season, remember to have fun, indulge in some goodies and stay healthy! Don’t restrict yourself from having comforting meals and treats – just make sure to have them in moderation. Instead of having three brownies, have one and a side of fruit. Making simple and sustainable changes to your diet and physical activity can ensure you have a fun and healthy winter.
About the Author:
Anna Tran, RDN, LD, graduated from the University of Florida in 2018 and is currently a nutrition education coordinator in the bariatric clinic at Emory University Midtown Hospital in Atlanta, GA. During her pastime, she loves baking cookies, trying new recipes, going on hiking trails and being outdoors with her loved ones.
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