This is a guest post from Cheryl Harris of Gluten Free Goodness and Harris Whole Health.
I’m delighted to stop by here right in time for the holidays. Linda has done such a great job to support our happy little (but growing) gluten-free community, especially with Gluten-free Wednesdays. I’ve been hosting a weekly menu plan on my website for the past few years (although we’re much smaller) and everyone is of course welcome to stop by and get inspiration there, too!
So, I love to bake, cook and eat…and I’m a dietitian and nutritionist. It’s all about finding the right balance between the delights of food and friends and eating well to feel great throughout the holidays. Since we’re smack in the middle of eating (and shopping) season, here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy the spirit of the season and favorite holiday foods, while staying reasonably healthy, too.
Balance: If you are going to a holiday party in the evening, make an extra effort to eat well on other days. Add in more vegetables, fruits, beans, gluten-free whole grains, etc. and move more, too! A piece of chocolate cake one day won’t make or break a diet, but treats every day will add up.
Move the goodies out of sight: One of the biggest challenges of the season is a see-food diet, otherwise known as “if I see it, I eat it”. Studies show that when people keep food out of sight, they eat less. Avoid the constant temptation. Instead, put fruits on the counter or in your refrigerator where they are easy to grab. Seasonal fruits in the winter months include Clementines, oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, grapes, pomegranates, persimmons, mangos, and more.
Fill your table with fruit and veggie dishes: Have your holiday meals feature seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, collards or other greens. Make roasted chestnuts as a snack. Have a fruit inspired dessert, like baked apples, poached pears, sautéed bananas, etc.
Soups: As long as they’re not cream based, most soups are a healthy snack or part of a filling meal. Chicken and turkey soup with brown or wild rice, butternut squash soup, lentil soups and other beans soups are a great way to stay warm and enjoy seasonal flavors.
Get moving! Exercise is a great way to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and burn calories, too. Head out at lunchtime for a short walk, start a new family tradition and do something active at family events, dance at party functions, or make a habit of hitting the gym. You don’t have to wait until January for healthy resolutions.
Image via office.microsoft.com
Cheryl Harris is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist in Alexandria, VA providing nutrition session and classes on Celiac disease and other food intolerances. She writes on Celiac Disease for her Today’s Dietitian, the Gluten Intolerance Group, DC Celiacs and her own free monthly gluten-free newsletter. She considers herself incredibly lucky, because she loves her work and the chance to help others enjoy healthy and safe foods, even with food restrictions. For more information on Cheryl and many gluten free resources, see www.harriswholehealth.com or her gluten free and allergen avoiding recipes on www.gfgoodness.com