Healthy Eating During the Festive Season

It is that time of year to get together with family and Friends to celebrate with good food and drink at parties and seasonal dinners.  While most of us are aware of the adverse of consequences of over-eating, temptation can over-ride it. It is time of the year to review some of the ways not to over-indulge.

The goal is not to spoil your looking forward to the delicious foods that are only particular to this time of year such as eggnog, fruit cakes, cheese logs and special drinks, but to have small portions so you can try the other varieties of foods.

Some of the ways to avoid gaining weight and keeping healthy over the holiday season are:

  • Maintaining your weight (don’t try to lose weight over the holidays)
  • Try to exercise which can reduce holiday stress (Try to do 10 to 15 minutes of brisk walking twice a day),
  • Don’t skip meals.  Have a light snack before you go out to a gathering which can curb your appetite to prevent over-indulging,
  • Survey the varieties of foods and select your favourite ones before you choose less favourite ones and fill your place with vegetables and fruits,
  • Eat until you are satisfied but not feeling stuffed,
  • Savour your holiday treats while eating small portions,
  • Of you over-eat on a meal, go light on the next meal, (it takes s 500 calories a day or 3500 calories a week to gain one pound),
  • Take focus off foods by participating in non-food projects like making decorations, planning group activities – having a games night, taking walks to see decorated houses, etc,
  • Bring your healthy dish to a gathering,
  • Practice preparing foods with low in calories,
  • Cooking your favourite dishes with less fat and incorporate it into your traditional cooking throughout the year.

Here are some tips on modifying your recipes to promote healthy eating:

  • Gravy – Refrigerate your gravy to harden. This will Save 56 grams of fat per cup.
  • Dressing – Use less bread and more croutons garlic, celery, and more vegetables.
  • Add more fruits and apples.  Moisten or flavour with low turkey or chicken broth and apple sauce.
  • Turkey – Enjoy  delicious roasted turkey breast without the skin and eleven grams of saturated fat peer 3 oz. serving.
  • Mashed potatoes – Use skim milk garlic or garlic powder, parmesan cheese instead of whole milk
  • Quick holiday nog – 4 bananas, one and half cups of skim milk, one quarter teaspoon of rum extract and ground nutmeg.     Blend all the ingredients except nutmeg and puree until smooth and add nutmeg.
  • Desserts – Make a no crust pumpkin pie buy substituting two egg whites for each whole egg in each baked dish.  Replace heavy creams with evaporated skim milk
  • Cheesecakes andd cream pies – top with fresh fruits or fruit sauce, or sparkles of powdered sugar.

Most of you are familiar with some of the suggestions cited above for eating healthy over the holiday season.  However, it is worthwhile to repeat them as temptations can take over when standing before a delicious buffet.

As all the foods needs to be digested, CHEWING becomes an Important aspect of eating. Chewing your food is the start of digestion.  Teeth are designed to pulverize food while enzymes in the saliva helps to break down the food further.  Chewing gives an opportunity for your body to analyze the nutrients entering it allowing your body to release the right enzymes to aid digestion.

Avoid high carbohydrate foods by making vegetables the main part of your plate. Root vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beets, rutabaga, and dikon are seasonal vegetables during this time of season They taste great when roasted.  Leafy green vegetables are rich in 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.  There are a wide variety of veggies to choose from, so all you vegetables haters out there, keep trying to find veggies which you might like.

One of the challenges for seniors in eating healthy is to eat foods containing protein. Some of the foods containing protein in addition to meat are:  legumes (edamame, chick peas, lentils, soy beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc).

Other foods containing protein are nuts and seeds, eggs, and fish.

To help you choose your nutritional needs, speak to a professional who is trained in nutrition such as a holistic nutritionist, a dietitian, naturopath, or a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with a nutrition background.

Enjoy the holidays and incorporate the healthy recipes into your holiday foods. Moderation is the best way to good healthy eating.


Written by Tom Teranishi

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of the Bulletin.

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