10 Tips for Colon-Friendly Eating During the Holidays
Making wise food choices during the holidays can be a real challenge. There are so many family gatherings and parties, get-togethers and dining out with friends, so it can be easy to overindulge. Also, there are certain foods that only “appear” during the holidays, like eggnog, pecan pie, fudge, honey-baked ham, iced sugar cookies and gingerbread. We want to enjoy the holidays, and that means eating holiday foods with those we love the most. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a slice of Grandma’s homemade strawberry cake though. We just need to know how to choose wisely to keep ourselves healthy.
Food is an important part of the holiday season. Every year during the winter holidays, Americans gain an average of 1 pound. One pound might not sound like much, but most people never lose the weight they gain over the holidays. Here are ten tips for eating colon-healthy this holiday season:
- Don't forget the importance of breakfast. Get your day off to a healthy start by eating a high-protein, low-sugar and low-carb breakfast. Steer clear of sweet bread and cereals, and opt instead for eggs, turkey sausage and whole grain toast.
- Eat smaller portions. One easy way to eat smaller portions is to use a smaller plate. Large plates are tempting to fill up, but with a small plate, we can only get what will fit. This “problem” requires careful consideration of what we put on that plate. Choose nutrient-rich foods over empty calories. For example, pick turkey, green beans or salad over casseroles, mashed potatoes and ham.
- Eat more vegetables. Increase the nutritional and fiber in your meal by filling your plate with raw, steamed or roasted veggies. These sides will help you feel full and keep you regular. Check out the Colon-Healthy Recipes board on Pinterest for more vegetable recipes.
- Pack healthy snacks. With all of the running around, it’s easy to skip a meal or just hit the drive-thru for a quick, greasy bite. Instead, keep your blood sugar level up and bring along some mixed nuts, trail mix, hardboiled eggs, string cheese, hummus and crackers, a sandwich or a smoothie.
- Stay hydrated. Often what we think is hunger is really thirst. Aim to drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water a day. For extra flavor, add slices of lemon or lime.
- Stick with the main course and avoid the trimmings. Enjoy the lean turkey and vegetables, but skip those fatty extras like mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls and cream sauces that are loaded with unnecessary calories and fat.
- Choose fruit over sweets. During the winter months, there are some delicious fruits in season like pomegranates, grapefruit and oranges. Full of antioxidants, fiber and nutrients, fruit will satisfy your hunger and your sweet tooth.
- Don’t forget to exercise. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, you should still make time for exercise. Short bursts of 10 to 15 minute exercise can be just as effective as an hour-long workout. When it’s an option, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park far away from where you’re shopping to get in some extra steps.
- Plan for those indulgences. Don’t completely deprive yourself of those tasty holiday treats. More than likely doing so will backfire, and you may find yourself binge eating chocolate truffles. Instead, plan ahead: skip the afternoon snack and have that slice of pie you want.
- Focus on the reason for the season: time with loved ones. Sure, eating makes up a large part of the time we spend together over the holidays, but there are other ways to have quality time with our loved ones. Set your fork down and catch up. Focus on relationships, not food; laugh, chat and enjoy your time together.
Eating for your health can be a challenge during the holidays. Follow these 10 tips to support colon health this season. Happy and healthy holidays!