Posts Tagged ‘holiday tips’

Healthy Holiday Eating

Between the holiday parties, family gatherings and holiday baking it is easy to overeat this time of the year. But I have some tips that you might find helpful to keep you from eating too much of the wrong stuff.

Before heading to a party, have a healthy snack at home. A little bit of turkey or some nuts will provide protein and stabilize your blood sugar. If you’re not starving going into a party, you’ll make better choices when it comes to food and you won’t overeat. Go ahead and treat yourself a bit, but watch the portion sizes and try to avoid foods that are fried or made with a lot of cream and/or cheese. Also, don’t hang out around the buffet table because that might cause you to continue snacking.

I’ve said it before, but limit your alcohol consumption. Opt for a glass of red wine or mulled cider instead of eggnog, Kahlua or beer. Avoid sugary beverages that are just empty calories and will elevate blood sugar levels and expand the waistline. Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of club soda or sparkling water with lime.

Host a healthy meal swap with friends. If you and some friends share the “we’re all in this together” attitude, the more likely you’ll stay on track and avoid holiday weight gain. Another good idea is to plan a post-party brick workout with friends to combat against all those calories consumed at holiday parties.

With a little planning and an after-party activity plan, you can avoid going overboard this holiday season and maybe even lose weight instead of gaining those holiday pounds.

Keeping Your Home Toxic-Free During the Holidays

We come into contact with environmental toxins in our everyday lives, but the holiday season can bring additional toxins that can further wreak havoc on our hormones. Many of these toxins can mimic other hormones like estrogen and thyroid which lead to an imbalance with other hormones. Some toxins can accumulate in tissues of glands, which inhibits our hormone production.

Toxins can be found in some holiday decorations and products. Synthetic scents from holiday air fresheners and scented candles contain phthalates and parabens that can disrupt hormones. Instead, light candles made from soy or beeswax. They burn clean and don’t emit dangerous chemicals. Excess Christmas tree trim and cinnamon sticks also work well to make your house smell like the holidays.

Fake trees – especially older ones – decorations and gift wrap can contain lead. Instead of using artificial decorations, create centerpieces and holiday accents by placing poinsettias around your house and filling baskets and vases with natural ingredients like pinecones, whole walnuts and chestnuts, artichokes, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, organic pumpkins, squash and apples. If you prefer a fake tree, try to use a newer one as they generally contain lower levels of lead and make sure to wash your hands well after assembling and decorating.

I hope these tips have helped so you can protect your home and your health this holiday season with decorations that are both beautiful and healthful.

Stress Less this Holiday Season

Many people find this time of year to be stressful, when in fact it should be a joyous time. It is true, there is a lot going on and a lot of money can be spent, which can lead to more stress, elevated levels of cortisol and eventually weight gain and other symptoms of hormone imbalance. However, with a little planning and stress management techniques, this can be the most wonderful time of the year for you and your family.

To keep spending within your budget and not consuming all your time, make a list and start early. Make a list of everyone you’re buying for and what you’re buying them, and then stick to that list. Start your shopping early, so you’re not running around until the last minute. Just like any other time, find time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, whether that it is getting a manicure, having quiet time to read a book, playing a round of golf, going for a walk or to yoga class, etc. 

In order to not put additional stress on your cortisol levels, keep up with your diet of eating every couple of hours and including lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. I know it’s hard to avoid all of the yummy treats that seem to find you during this time. Just try to limit yourself. A good rule of thumb is to eat some healthy snacks prior to going to a party in order to keep from going overboard. Also try not to drink too much alcohol. Especially avoid the overly sweet or rich drinks and alternate with sparkling water or club soda between alcoholic beverages.

Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives

Keeping with the theme of healthy holidays, today I’d like to focus on Thanksgiving. I am sharing some delicious recipes to include with your Thanksgiving feast next week that are sure to keep your hormones happy and your weight on track. These sides are the perfect complement to your turkey.

Roasting is a very healthy and delicious way to cook vegetables. It enhances the flavors of the vegetables without losing any of the nutrients. Drizzle the vegetables with heart-healthy olive oil, season with a little Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. You could also use some fresh or dried herbs, a squeeze of lemon, etc. 400 degrees is the optimal roasting temperature for vegetables – cooking time depends on the vegetable and how it is cut, but plan to turn once midway. Good choices for this cooking method include asparagus, carrots, brussel sprouts, parsnips and squash.

Many people may think it isn’t Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes, but a creamy cauliflower puree may be a better option for you. Make this in addition to mashed potatoes, but leave the potatoes for your kids and you opt for this alternative instead. Sweet potatoes are also a Thanksgiving staple and on their own sweet potatoes are very healthy with a low GI, but when loaded with brown sugar, tons of butter and little marshmallows, they’re not so healthy anymore. Instead use skim milk, a little unsalted butter and cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, so it is a better choice than brown sugar. Looking for a green bean alternative to the traditional casserole? Try sautéing green beans with caramelized onions, garlic and sliced almonds. For the complete recipes and directions for these healthy side dish alternatives, click here.

When you’re sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner next week, a good rule of thumb is to fill your plate with mostly veggies and some turkey. Pass on the starchy casseroles and avoid going back for seconds. And gather everyone for a post-dinner walk around the neighborhood or friendly game of touch football instead of sinking into the couch in a food coma.