Eating healthy Over the Holiday Season

One of the things that can most impact is the holiday food you will find at parties and gatherings during this season. While you may be pretty mindful about the kinds of food you eat (or maybe not), the holidays bring many temptations mostly for sweets and also for quantity. In fact, many of us may purposely choose stretchy or loose fitting clothing that can accommodate us gorging at holiday gatherings. Here are some of the healthy tips to help you eat healthy over the holiday  season.

The goal is not to spoil your fun. Enjoy the delicious foods that sometimes only shows up  during this time of year – like eggnog, fruit cakes, and cheese logs; but,  keep your serving size small. You won’t be missing out because the best bites are the first and the last bite. Think about it, the first bite of anything delicious seems to be the most flavourful. If you slow down your eating, and savour your food, you will likely notice the second bite is not quite as good as the first, and with each subsequent nibble, the punch of the flavour seems less and less until the last bite,  When you know it is the last bite, so you pay particular attention to it by savouring it more.

Avoid overeating

It is a good idea to Follow the Japanese expression, of eating until your stomach is eighty percent full One way to do that is to use a smaller plate. Believe it or not, people actually feel full sooner (without feeling deprived)when they fill a small plate than when a same amount of food is placed on a larger  plate. Also, eat your food slowly and chew your food well, allowing your digestive system to catch up with how much food you put in your mouth.

The other side of overeating is that is making sure you eat enough . Sometimes, we feel so busy or even emotionally overwhelmed about having to getting things done that that we don’t eat enough during the holidays. Make sure during these hectic times that you are fueling yourself sufficiently.

Chew chew chew

I know that I mentioned this already, but it is important enough to mention it several times. Chewing your food is the start of digestion. Teeth are designed to pulverize food, while enzymes in the saliva help to breakdown food further. Chewing gives your body a chance to analyze the nutrients entering your body, allowing it to release the right digestive enzymes.

Know your triggers

Do you have a sweet tooth, do you prefer salty or is it about texture for you? For example, I could eat a whole package of yokan. I would slice it up and piece by piece consume the entire package. I have learned better since then.

Too much sugar can lead to inflammation, diabetes, excessive weight gain, tooth decay and more, so watch out for how many sugar cookies Nanaimo bars and manju you indulge in. Instead, you can temper your sweet tooth with some naturally sweet foods, like yams, sweet potatoes, and a few dates or figs, or a bit of fruit. Even carrots and beets are naturally sweet.

If salt is your thing, you will need to moderate that too

as it can result in high blood pressure which concerns many of us Remember that soy sauce is salty and many foods have added salt in them too. Even if you skip the salt shaker, it is a good idea to read the sodium quantity on food labels. Naturally salty foods include: seaweeds like kombu, nori, arame, wakame, dulse and kelp. Fermented foods and pickles are often salty too, as salt is often used in the fermentation process.

If you like natto,  – this is a salty- flavoured food that is low in sodium. ( apparently, I can’t get my nose close enough for me to eat it) It helps to prevent blood clots, regulates calcium in the body, and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.


Whether you are a crunchy or smooth peanut butter person, textures can also make a difference for how you experience food. Pay attention to the kinds of food textures you like so you

can find healthy food replacements for the less nutrient-dense food options.

The saying goes, “Be more like the reindeer than Santa Clause

Just because Santa eats cookies all Christmas eve, it doesn’t mean you should.

Make vegetables the main part of your plate or bowl. Root vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beets, rutabaga, and daikon are seasonal during fall and winter months and they are great when roasted. Like all vegetables, all leafy veggies are rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.

Soups, stews, and slow cooked meals are a great way to implement a wide variety of vegetables in an easily digestible way. As there is a wide variety to choose from so, all you veggies haters out there keep trying to find some veggies which you might like.

Get enough protein

One of the biggest challenges for healthy eating for seniors, is making sure to eat enough foods containing protein. For some seniors toast and tea have become a staple meal. For others cereals, or may be udon noodles. Of course meat is one source of protein but, so too are legumes,(edamame, chick-peas, lentils, soy beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc., nuts and seeds, eggs, land fish are great protein options.

Ask professionals for help

With all the variety of foods out there, sometimes it is hard to know the food choices you are making are the best ones for you. If that is the case, speak to a professional who is trained in nutrition, like a holistic nutritionist, a dietitian, naturopath or doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who have a nutrition focus..

Note – a gift certificate consultation with one of these professionals can even be added to your wish list – “there is no better gift than good health.”

Written by Dr. Melissa Carr TCM, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Chinese Traditional Medicine with 16 years of clinical practice. She is a natural health and nutrition consultant, lecturer and writer.

This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of the Bulletin.

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