12 days of Christmas? More like the 12 days of weight gain and overindulgence! This is the time of the year where malls and restaurants run festive dining promotions and companies throw celebratory end-of-year lunches, resulting in many people struggling to maintain their exercise regimes and diets.
Overindulge? Yes, please.
Exercise? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
That’s not entirely a bad thing considering festive gatherings are wonderful for catching up with our loved ones. It just requires more intentionality and discipline to eat healthily and stay active this Christmas. And we’re here to help! Here are some tips for healthier holiday eating:
1. White Meat over Red Meat
Studies have shown that red meat, compared to white meat, is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is also usually found in higher quantity in red than white meat. It may be hard to avoid that succulent piece of steak this Christmas but opt for a leaner cut of meat (i.e. sirloin, tenderloin, and chuck).
2. Processed – the Less the Better
Ham, bacon and sausages may be a staple in any Christmas platter but the less processed the better. Cured with high amounts of salt, process meats are sodium-rich and packed with saturated fat, which is not a good thing. In fact, regular consumption of processed meats is associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Consider replacing ham with roasted chicken, which is comparatively less salty and fatty. But since it’s the holiday season, and if you really must include ham (we all know it’s a fan favorite), choose the leaner portions of ham instead of the fatty cuts. And prepare it shaved instead of sliced so that people can have more control over the amount they take, instead of having to finish one whole slice.
3. Homemade over Store-Bought
When it comes to poultry stuffing, opt for homemade stuffing instead of buying it off the shelf (usually high in sodium and preservatives). Bread crumb is a key ingredient in poultry stuffing for which you can replace with whole-grain options (eg. wheat or cornmeal), brown rice, quinoa or sweet potato. Thankfully, the internet is a treasure trove of healthy stuffing recipes which you can access at your fingertips! Here’s one for your consideration!
When it comes to sauces, turkey goes superbly well together with cranberry sauce. While cranberry sauce out of a can is so convenient, it’s unfortunately loaded with sugar and calories. It is actually not that difficult at all to make your homemade version. Here’s a recipe for homemade cranberry sauce in 15 minutes.
4. Make Room for Greens
Don’t ignore vegetables and fruits; they should form an integral component to any Christmas feast. They make great snacks, great sides and even great main dishes! Spice up your Christmas meal with greens such as brussel sprouts, carrots and cauliflower to give your guests more options for a healthier dinner! Go big on servings of greens compared to meats.
5. Don’t Rush To Go Back For Seconds
Your brain needs time to get the “I am full” signal from your stomach so take a 10-minute breather after your first helping. Use the breather to make conversation, drink water, and recheck your appetite. Who knows? You may not need a second helping thereafter.
Have a healthy and merry Christmas season with your family and friends!
Happy holidays in advance from the Doctor World Team!