Healthy Holiday Eating

David Bodunde

The holiday season means you relax and socialize with those important to you. The theme for holidays and celebrations just naturally pairs with food and drinks we normally don’t have time to prepare or enjoy.
No wonder we let self-control take a back seat for those special days.
Choosing healthy eating does not need to be a daunting task of self-control. Having healthy choices will make it easy for everyone. Make preparations easier for the host (even if it’s you) by replacing gifting with contributions to appetizers, dinners, or desserts. Stress a “healthy eats” theme, and even assign easy items to guests.
With pandemic concerns, portion control can be made easy by offering small individual servings:

  • Small shot glasses with healthy choices like fruits, and nuts.
  • Select or suggest items that are lower in nitrates, salt, and sugar.
  • Instead of fat-laden dips, try hummus at the bottom of a fat shot glass with vegetable sticks.
  • A fruit cup can be a dessert choice or dress up small individually portioned gelatin with a piece of fruit for garnish
  • Wine spritzers (one-half wine, one-half soda water), fruit juice spritzers can reduce your sugar intake
  • Infused water readily available and prominently placed are attractive and tempting (citrus slice, cucumber, strawberry). Provide small fruit spears to embellish this healthy choice
  • Replace cream and butter in recipes with skim, soya, or almond milk
  • Start the meal by passing the salad and vegetables first, potato last

We tend to eat with our eyes – making those healthy choices appealing will make it easier to prioritize them. Spend more time to decorate these choices, a reward for those who choose these options.
It’s hard to choose healthy if you’re starving.
As you prepare yourself for the feasting ahead, other suggestions to keep healthy and reduce cravings:

  • Don’t skip breakfast or your midday meal
  • Drink water regularly throughout the day
  • If exercising before holiday dinner, eat shortly after your activity (before you go to the party)
  • Enjoy your food slowly, fully taste your food.
  • Avoid fillers like bread, potato, and pasta
  • Limit your sauces and gravy
  • Have water at the table and have a swallow between different foods to clarify your tastebuds.

Do you get heartburn or stomach discomfort after eating?
Your pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter medications which can be taken before your holiday meal to prevent post-meal discomfort or suggest something to have on hand in case you feel bloated or experience heartburn.
Healthy Food Choices with Help from Local Pharmacist

David Bodunde
Shas Pharmacy PharmaChoice
Ottawa, ON