With the holidays in full swing, food is everywhere you look. The endless options of tasty entrees and holiday dessert dishes can make it relatively easy to overindulge in some of your favorite foods. At Bob's Red Mill, we believe that balance is key to a healthy lifestyle, and it's okay to indulge in your favorite treats every once in a while. That being said, the holidays are often a hard time to understand where the line between indulging and overindulging is crossed. If you're struggling to stay on track this season, you're not alone. Tasty foods can be quite tempting, and it takes a lot of courage to say no to a second helping of your favorite dessert. To help you stay on track during the holidays and continue your healthy eating journey, our Bob's Red Mill food experts put together a healthy eating holiday list. Keep scrolling to discover what healthy eating tips for the holidays you can use to stay full, satisfied and nourished this winter.
Enjoy Your Veggies
Veggies are essential when sticking to a healthy holiday eating plan. Not only are they a great ingredient to use to make tasty meals, but they're also loaded with nutrition. Depending on the vegetables used, you can create both sweet and savory dishes that guests can enjoy guilt-free.
Vegetables are also a great ingredient to use when you're craving a more filling meal. Various vegetables can be used to add nutrition and satiety to your favorite dishes. Whether you choose to serve holiday vegetables as a side or the main course, here are a few of our favorite recipes.
Mini Spring Vegetable Quiches
These Mini Spring Vegetable Quiches are the ideal healthy, veggie-filled appetizer for this year's holiday get-together. Made with a mix of veggies and Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, they're a tasty dish that nearly everyone can enjoy.
Gluten Free Vegetable Pot Pie
A delicious, vegetarian version of your favorite holiday dish, this Gluten Free Vegetable Pot Pie is entirely free of gluten, dairy and soy. Made with our Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix, it's an easy dish that everyone will love.
Eat the Healthiest Dishes First
While we're on the topic of vegetables, let's talk about the most crucial time to eat them. While vegetables are an essential and healthy part of any meal, eating them first can also provide several benefits. Enjoying healthy ingredients like vegetables, fruits, greens and grains before you take a bite of savory stuffing or sweet apple pies can help make sure that you indulge in nutrients your body needs instead of those it doesn't. Eating veggies first can also help fill you up with healthy foods so that you don't have much room left once dessert hits the table. High in nutrients and fiber, fruits and vegetables are an ideal ingredient for overall health.
Eat Slowly and Savor Your Food
While what you eat is important, how you eat also plays a vital role in your health. The truth is, it takes your stomach (and brain) time to realize when it's full—about 20 minutes, to be exact. So, aside from the extra flavor and enjoyment eating slowly can provide, it can also help you stay on track by eating only what your body needs.
On the contrary, if you eat too fast, your body may not have time to communicate with your brain causing you to overeat. Aside from an excess of calories and food, eating too quickly can also cause various stomach problems and feelings of discomfort.
Not sure if you're overeating? The next time you think you might be eating too much, take a minute to reflect on your eating experience. Are you still enjoying your meal? Are you filling your body with healthy foods? If your answer is no to these questions, then it may be time to take a break from eating for a little. If you're still hungry after 30 minutes, then add more to your plate.
Just like overeating can negatively affect your health, eating too little can as well. When it comes to eating during the holidays, many individuals are tempted to skip meals or eat much less throughout the day, "saving" room and calories for their dinner. However, this lack of food and calories commonly causes individuals to feel extremely hungry when their dinner plate arrives and leads to overeating. Instead of skipping meals, be sure to eat healthy throughout the day. Eating healthy meals will fill your body with the nutrients it needs and causes you to be less hungry during each meal time.
In addition to eating at every meal, it's essential to choose the foods you love. Focusing on eating the foods you enjoy and skipping the ones you're on the fence about will help you find the perfect balance of eating just the right amount.
For a healthy lunch recipe, try making these Mediterranean Farro Stuffed Peppers.
Don't Drink Your Calories
Now, when we say don't drink your calories, we're not talking about skipping drinks altogether. Eggnog, holiday tea and hot chocolate are just a few of the many enticing beverages you'll find at the table this time of year. While you won't want to pass up on these treats, you don't want to overload on them either. For an easy and healthy way to enjoy holiday drinks while saving a few calories, alternate your favorite beverages with water. Alternating between the two throughout the day will help minimize your holiday drink intake while also keeping you hydrated—something that's easy to forget about this time of year.
Refrain from Falling into a Food Coma
Worried about the food coma that usually hits after your second round of dessert? If you've followed all of the tips above and still find yourself feeling uncomfortably full this holiday season, there's one thing that might make you feel a bit better. After having a big meal, try taking a quick walk around the neighborhood. While walking may be the last thing you want to do after eating, we're confident that you'll feel better if you do. In fact, aside from getting some fresh air, a brisk fifteen to twenty-minute walk can help your body through the digestion process and may even stabilize blood sugar levels.
In addition to walking after meals, making physical activity a part of your everyday holiday routine is an integral part of staying healthy. While you may think the cold winter weather makes it harder to get outside and remain active, the truth is, there are plenty of winter physical activities to take part in. Sledding, ice skating, snowboarding and shoveling snow are all great ways to get your body and muscle moving—and the more muscle mass you have, the easier it is to burn calories!
While we may be fans of healthy, wholesome ingredients, that doesn't mean we believe in skipping dessert. In fact, we think that with the right ingredients, dessert can be made entirely guilt-free. During the holidays, there's likely to be an endless amount of holiday cookies, pies, cakes and strudels are your holiday dinner.
Now, if you're planning on having a bite of these delicious desserts, we're not stopping you. However, to help keep within healthy holiday eating guidelines, there are a few things you should know.
The first being that most desserts pack a lot of calories and sugar in each bite. If you want to have your cake and eat it too, we suggest grabbing a smaller portion than you usually would. This will allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard.
Next, if you're genuinely searching for a way to enjoy your favorite holiday baked goods, then think of whipping up a healthier version of them. There are several different ways to make a traditional tasting dessert with healthy, wholesome ingredients.
If you’re looking to make a healthy dessert this holiday season, try out this Cassava Brownie Recipe. Made with dark chocolate, coconut oil and cassava flour, it's a healthier version of your favorite tasty treat. These luscious, super-chocolate-y treats provide a creamy, moist texture that you and your guest will love!
Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important to your health, and trying to stick to one during the holiday season can make people quite anxious. If you're stressing over your meals this holiday season, use the tips on this list to ease your mind. However, if you do eat more than you planned, don't be too hard on yourself. The holidays should be a time of rest and celebration, and worrying about your food choices won't make things any better. Instead, enjoy the time spent with family and friends and continue your healthy eating habits during your next meal.
Use the tips on this list to fuel your healthy holiday fun! Whether you're planning a small gathering with family or cooking for one, these tips will help you stay on track while also enjoying all of the seasonal foods you love.