November is here! We step into the holiday season, a period filled with happiness, festivities, and delectable culinary delights! As we approach the Holiday Season, it’s essential to find ways to enjoy the festivities while still maintaining a nutritious diet and ensuring safe food handling. In this blog, we’ll explore strategies to help you make healthier food choices during the holidays and offer tips to keep your meals safe.
During the holidays, it’s easy to indulge in treats and rich dishes. However, incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your meals can help you maintain a balanced diet. Here are some options:
- Fruits and Vegetables: Include colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate. They provide essential vitamins and minerals.
- Lean Proteins: Opt for lean cuts of meat or try plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, or tofu.
- Whole Grains: Choose whole-grain options for bread, pasta, and rice to increase fiber intake.
- Healthy Fats: Incorporate sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil in your cooking.
While enjoying holiday feasts, pay attention to portion sizes. Use smaller plates and serve yourself reasonable portions to avoid overeating. Remember, it’s okay to savor your favorite treats in moderation. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Staying hydrated can help you make better food choices. When preparing holiday meals, aim for a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. A well-rounded plate will keep you feeling satisfied and less likely to overindulge in one particular type of food.
Sugary beverages like soda, fruit punch, and eggnog can add extra calories and sugar to your diet. Choose water, herbal tea, or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice as healthier alternatives. Last but not least, don’t forget to stay active during the holidays. Take a walk, go for a hike, or dance to your favorite tunes. Physical activity can help balance out indulgent meals.
Prioritize Food Safety
Ensuring the safety of the food you prepare and consume during the holidays is crucial. Follow these food safety tips:
- Thawing: Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the countertop, to prevent bacterial growth.
- Cooking Temperatures: Use a food thermometer to ensure meats are cooked to the recommended internal temperatures.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate leftovers promptly and consume them within a few days.
- Handwashing: Wash your hands frequently while handling food to prevent cross-contamination.
The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends while enjoying delicious food. By making mindful food choices, practicing portion control, and prioritizing food safety, you can maintain a nutritious diet during this festive season. Remember that it’s okay to indulge occasionally, but moderation is key to a healthy holiday season.
Written by: Irisvette Lagoa and Elizabeth C. Shephard
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Food Safety. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/index.html
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/
Skerret, P. J. (2019, August 28). 12 tips for holiday eating. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/12-tips-for-holiday-eating-201212242506