H is for Holidays and Health.

Holidays are my favorite time of the year. It’s filled with so much love and cheer in the air, and everyone is so much happier. The festive songs are playing, the beautiful Christmas lights are shining, the roads are decorated with tinsel and Christmas trees… Homes are filled with laughter as families and friends come together to celebrate each other. Ahh, what’s not to love? If only we could be so loving and joyful all the time, instead of taking each other for granted!

christmasgingerbreadhouse

Instead of my usual 7 tips, let’s get into the holiday mood this Christmas by kickstarting the Twelve Days of Christmas with a healthy twist!

reindeercupcakes

With the festivity in the air, I can’t help but attempt to create a parody to the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Since I’m not musically inclined at all, I won’t be parodying the entire song… I made it to about 6 stanzas. That’s good enough for me haha. Do bear with me if it gets a little cheesy, I have my moments.

Here goes!

Minolta DSC

On the first day of Christmas…
My kind friend sent to me:
A brownie and some hot tea.

 Friends and family go all out during the holidays, and there’s a mad baking spree going on as everyone showcases their skills. More often that not you’ll be sent home with desserts from Christmas parties or given beautifully made food gifts. While these gifts are sweet gestures, indulging in too many rich desserts can leave us feeling lethargic and blah. So keep up your jolly mood without looking like jolly ol’ Santa by choosing one dessert a day, or by sharing the dessert with your friends.

Instead of finishing an entire slice of cake, share it with a friend, and try a bit of another dessert instead. After all… Variety is the spice of life! Trying a bit of everything will satisfy your cravings and you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Don’t be a grumpy elf and shun desserts like the plague, it’s the holidays. Enjoy yourself without going overboard.

cookiemonster
On the second day of Christmas…
my dear Mum sent to me
2 cookie tins
and a brownie and some hot tea.

Mindless snacking can get the best of us during the holidays, especially as we go from party to party, talking to people as we stand and eat. To avoid snacking on too much unhealthy food like pastries and cookies, pre-pack them into individual servings so you don’t finish an entire packet before you realize it. Carry some healthier snacks like fresh and dried fruit as well as nuts to keep your hunger at bay.

christmascarbs

On the third day of Christmas…
my true love sent to me
3 french loaves
2 cookie tins
and a brownie and some hot tea.

Carbs, oh glorious carbs. I’m sure you all have friends who avoid carbs like they are the poisonous or something. Well, carbohydrates aren’t necessarily bad. You just need to maintain the right portion size and not overdo them. Since holidays are as much about the food as they are about the presents and gatherings, my tip would be to go easy on the carbohydrates in your main meal if you intend to have some dessert, since desserts comprise mainly of carbohydrates.

If you’re cooking for your friends, sneak some healthy carbs in by replacing some white grains with wholewheat grains. (Especially in cakes cause no one will ever know the difference hehe). Perhaps you could even incorporate some quinoa or couscous into your turkey stuffing!

gravy

On the fourth day of Christmas…
my sweet Dad sent to me
4 gravy bowls
3 french loaves
2 cookie tins
and a brownie and some hot tea.

 Aha! Bet you forgot about gravy right? Many people do. Don’t go crazy with the gravy since it tends to be high in sodium. High sodium levels = water retention = not so jolly Christmas. Spoon a little gravy, but don’t drench your food in it. You still want to let the natural flavours shine through. Same goes for custard and other sauces. They are meant to complement the dish, not mask it!

proteinman

On the fifth day of Christmas…
my big bro sent to me
5 chicken wings
4 gravy bowls
3 french loaves
2 cookie tins
and a brownie and some hot tea.

Meat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I do understand that there are many vegetarians and vegans around, so for their sake, I will refer to protein sources instead. Even while you are out partying and having fun during the holidays, its important to make sure you’re eating a well-balanced and nutritious meal as well. Proteins help to keep you full and curbs your hunger to prevent unnecessary snacking. Baked tofu bites or tofu skewers can replace chicken kebabs for the vegetarians. Protein loaded eggs are delicious too, make it kid-friendly by making them mini! Hardboiled quail eggs are the perfect size to pop into your mouth. Pair them with cherry tomatoes and a cube of cheese and you’ve got a healthy appetizer to go.

eggnog

On the sixth day of Christmas…
my best friend sent to me
6 eggnog bottles
5 chicken wings
4 gravy bowls
3 french loaves
2 cookie tins
and a brownie and some hot tea.

Liquid calories are the most sneaky. Most people forget that what you drink matters almost as much as what you eat. Eggnog for example can be high in calories and fat. While it may provide some nutrients, too much of a good thing will still show up after awhile. So to prevent Santa-sized bellies, try to limit yourself to 1 drink, and opt for hot teas or water instead of creamy drinks, and juices. A glass of wine or two is fine too! If you really need a hot cuppa, opt for a hot cup of milk instead of something loaded with sugar. Hot cocoa made from scratch can be better than those manufactured mixes since you have control over the amount of sugar added.

christmasjokes

Just a couple more tips, if you are planning to host a party, offer up some healthy snacks. I mean, no one brings the veggies and fruits even though they are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, since these are cheaper than the meats and desserts. Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone bring the fruits/veggies even though everyone secretly wants some. Be a good host and provide the balance needed to weigh out the rich pastas and main courses. A creatively designed fruit platter, and veggie-based appetizers are all it takes!

Above all, just have fun. It is the holidays and one night of overeating won’t make you fat. Don’t focus too much on the food and calories, just get out there and enjoy the company and activities. It’s the people who matter.

gingerbread

Happy Holidays!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s