It’s no secret that this time of year is jam-packed with some of the most delicious treats. And since we’re in the holiday mood, snacking on them is a given. After all, who doesn’t love peppermint bark or eggnog?
However, our nutrition and health can take a hit during the holidays—because of the things we eat and drink, and how much we eat. On average, each American gains one to two pounds during the holiday season.
Apicha CHC’s registered dietician and nutritionist, Alan Lee, said consuming large amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and sugars can make people feel very sluggish. Additionally Lee said the holidays themselves can be a stress trigger and cause folks to consume those comfort foods.
Meals offered during Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to big spreads of food, and second and third helpings are frequent. Even though eating large amounts of “healthy” dishes seems like a good idea, over eating and portion control is a problem during the holiday season.
And, don’t forget about the alcoholic beverages and spirits that are consumed around the holidays. Aside from an increased number of DUIs during the holidays, alcohol can damage some of your most important internal organs.
Not sure how to dill? Here are some recommendations and nutrition tips for the holidays, so you can stay healthy and enjoy what you eat.
How to stay healthy this holiday season
- Start your day right: Make yourself a nutritionally balanced breakfast, especially if you know you’re going to eat four of those snickerdoodles at a dinner party later that day.
- Slow down: A good way to cut down on the cheesecake or turkey stuffing is to slow down when you eat. By taking your time to eat, you can give your body a chance to process what you’re eating and signify when you’re actually full.
- Be mindful: Ask yourself, are you really hungry right now? Are you eating just to eat, or because you’re feeling a certain emotion? Take a moment to consider these questions, and what your answers are. Being aware and mindful of what you’re eating, and how much you’re eating could really help.
- Bring a healthy dish: If you’re headed to a dinner party and know you’ll be indulging yourself, bring a healthy dish that you can also eat.
- Stay hydrated: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very important. Be sure to drink enough water and liquids during the holidays (and all the time). Our bodies are 70% water, so it’s important to stay hydrated in order for them to function properly.
- Exercise: As much as the holidays are a time to relax, it’s important you continue (or start) exercising. Research suggests exercising can elevate your mood and reduce stress. Plus, exercising releases endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good hormones. Exercise as much as your doctor will allow and plan time to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. We know it might not be an exact substitution, but it beets spending January on the treadmill.
How can Apicha CHC help you with your nutrition?
For Apicha CHC’s primary care clinic patients, we provide individualized nutrition plans for people living with HIV, diabetes, pre-diabetes, hyperlipedemia, sports nutrition, dietary supplement evaluation, weight management, and people in the process of cross-gender hormone therapy.
It may be in your best interest to consult with a registered dietician that is culturally sensitive to your needs, and can help you with customized recommendations based on an assessment of your nutritional goals and needs.
Alan Lee is available and you can ask your Apicha primary care provider to schedule a one-on-one individual nutrition counseling to discuss your goals and customize a plan for you. For more information, click here.
What can I expect to happen during the initial consultation with the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist?
Initial nutrition appointments are centered around you and about building a foundation to learn more about your health history (i.e. are you living with a chronic illness?, knowing what medications you take, knowing what dietary supplements you take, eating and physical activity patterns, favorite foods, as well as food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities).
During the session, discussion will center on what will motivate you to make better choices as it relates to grocery shopping, meal planning, food label reading, as well as helping you set goals and prioritize best health decisions.
Until you make your appointment with Apicha CHC, LETTUCE CELEBRATE.