It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday season. With celebrations, feasts and parties, there are so many opportunities to overindulge. A piece of pie here and a mug of eggnog there makes it easy to stray from our health goals. With some strategies on approaching the upcoming holiday events, you won’t need to deprive yourself, eat only boring foods, or feel guilty about treating yourself to foods that you enjoy. Plus, we give you some great ideas for healthy holiday appetizers to serve if you’re playing host this year that are festive and flavorful!
The holidays are a time for getting together with friends and family to celebrate. Often these celebrations involve food – lots of food. There are seasonal traditions and recipes that you look forward to because they’re only made once a year. The key is to find a healthy balance that works for you. Starting with some healthy holiday eating tips and a game plan for when you head out to the festivities is a surefire way to stay on track.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Preparing yourself mentally for the season of feasts and sweets can help lessen the anxiety that goes along with choosing to indulge. The anxiety comes from wanting to eat well, but then going to a holiday gathering and having to deal with the temptations. The holiday season is just one small part of the year and denying yourself the foods that you enjoy can end up backfiring on you in a big way. By acknowledging that you will be faced with foods that might “throw you off your plan,” you will feel less stressed and more likely to be mindful of your food choices.
Practice Mindful Eating
At holiday gatherings and events, really take time to enjoy the food you eat. Actively pay attention to what you’re eating – the taste, the texture, the smell, as well as how much you’re eating. If you’re eating while you’re socializing, standing up, or circling the food table because you have nothing else to do, it distracts your brain and tricks it into thinking you haven’t eaten. Not paying attention to the food that you have eaten can cause your brain to send a signal that you’re hungry, even if your stomach is full.
Focus On The Veggies
If you are worried about not having healthy options at the gatherings you are going to, it is acceptable and often welcomed by hosts for guests to bring along a shareable snack or appetizer. The best healthy holiday appetizers are the ones that feature fresh veggies. Knowing that you have these vegetables on hand, you can choose the real, whole foods before you start indulging in the treats. Start by filling your plate with veggies or choose appetizers that have recognizable vegetables in them before you visit the more indulgent appetizers. Serve yourself a plate of salad before your meal, then move on to the heavier dishes. By prioritizing veggies, you are getting in the quality nutrition and fiber that they provide, plus they will make you feel fuller without the caloric indulgence. Still hungry? Go back for a second helping of salad or veggies. You can also try drinking a glass of water before you refill your plate, our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger.
Know You Can Say “No”
You shouldn’t just eat to please other people. No one wants to offend the host of a get together, but ultimately you are the one who should decide what food goes into your body. Though likely well-intentioned, you shouldn’t be guilted into eating foods you don’t enjoy or eating more when you are full. Keep your food refusals short, simple, and polite. You don’t owe a justification or explanation for your decision to anyone. You can also opt for a sincere compliment about how the food looks or smells amazing, but that you can’t eat another bite. Another option is to say that you are full and ask if you might bring some home to enjoy later.
While the holiday season might not be the best time to start a new fitness routine, making time to move can be a great way to spend time with family & friends, outside of eating and drinking. Simple exercise, like taking a walk, can help with digestion and does wonders for mental wellness. Pick some fun activities that the whole family will enjoy that gets them physically active. If it’s cold where you live, winter sports like skating, skiing, snowboarding, and sledding are a lot of fun, while still being counted as exercise. For warmer climates, hiking, swimming, or even a friendly pick-up game of football can all be enjoyable forms of exercise that can get the whole family involved.
Offer to Host
This is the best strategy to control what you’re eating over the holidays! By offering to host a meal or a party, you are in complete control of the menu. At Pure Flavor®, we make that so much easier for you! From main dishes to flavorful salads and appetizers, you can search our recipes for some healthy inspiration for your holiday meals. This year we put together some healthy holiday appetizer recipes so you can host a memorable healthy holiday gathering.
This Healthy Holiday Party Platter has a delicious selection of snacking veggies that includes our Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers, Sweet Bell Peppers, Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes, Sangria® Tomato Medley, and Long English Cucumbers. Bring a fresh taste of holiday spirit to your table with this easy Christmas Tree Veggie Tray that features our Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers, Long English Cucumbers, Juno® Bites Red Grape Tomatoes and Sangria® Tomato Medley.
For a dazzling, elegant hors d’oeuvre that will impress all your guests, our award-winning Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes are a premium, hand-selected greenhouse grown tomato that will foot the bill. These Sweet Tomato Tartlets are light and airy with a savory filling. Each Cloud 9® tomato is filled with a cheesy herb filling and then tucked delicately inside the puffed pastry tart. In this easy to make and fun to eat Holiday Caprese Rolls, our Cloud 9® tomatoes are rolled up in grilled zucchini with all the classic caprese flavors. Both recipes are a fresh and delicious bite that will be a hit for any holiday gathering.
If you love peppers, try this Bell Pepper Bruschetta Crostini. A twist on the classic tomato bruschetta, our colorful Sweet Bell Peppers are sautéed with traditional bruschetta seasonings and then spooned onto toasted bread. Or, try this recipe for Pepper and Avocado Deviled Eggs. These festive and healthy deviled eggs are filled with creamy avocado and topped with our crunchy Sweet Bell Peppers. These quick and easy Mini Pepper Poppers have a decadent cream cheese filling, but are baked, not fried.
Serve something different with these individual Shrimp Ceviche Holiday Cocktails and Tomatoes in Lime Vinaigrette. Both feature our Sangria® Tomato Medley with their rainbow of colors, textures, and flavors. Quick and easy to prepare, both offer refreshing and healthy holiday appetizers for your menu.
While it’s easy to stray from healthy eating during the holidays, making the effort to fit some nutritious foods into each day is very important for both body and mind. Let yourself indulge but enjoy treats occasionally and not constantly. Be kind to yourself. If you end up eating more than you intended, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s easy to attach too much importance to the things that we do during the holidays. If you take the time to focus on these tips and remain active, that’s a holiday win!
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