Main Food Groups: Candy Canes, Cookies, Chocolate and Eggnog
Moji Kaviani, Ph.D., CEP
If your main food groups are Candy Canes, Cookies, Chocolate and Eggnog this Christmas, keep on reading!
If your answer is yes, then join the club, at Christmas we are “forced”-not really – to eat so many treats, at such a consistent pace. But all of these treats can make us feel guilty and maybe even a little sick, because in such excess they are not good for our bodies.
So then, now would be the best time to consider planning a healthier lifestyle for you and your family for the New Year. Don’t worry, you won’t have to eat salads every day, or drink weird tea concoctions. All you need to do is eat real wholesome food in balance. Because having a balanced diet is essential to being healthy, as it provides you with necessary carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. But this isn’t as easy as eating 10 Christmas cookies, or drinking 3 glasses of eggnog. It will take a lot more time effort and preparation, but will be worth it in the end.
Having a healthier lifestyle will overall make you feel better, and have you feeling like the energizer bunny, or at least it may do that to your kids. I mean hey that’s not a bad thing as physical activity and staying hydrated are also key to a healthy lifestyle.
So where to begin?
Start by removing all unhealthy snacks and food from your home (if “Santa” has already cleaned you out), this includes most packaged snacks and quick/instant meals. The next step is to sit down with your family and plan out what sorts of meals you want to have for the week; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You will need to look up roughly how many servings of each food group each member in the house requires.
For carbohydrates, focus on whole grain rice, bread, pasta, potatoes and even quinoa (if you are feel adventurous).
Protein sources should not just be left over turkey and ham, but try to include fish and bean sources for variation, and ok, I guess you can have chicken. You should limit your consumption of red meat, to one meal a week. For vegetables, you should try to include them in at least two of your meals. Aim to eat at least one leafy green like spinach, broccoli, cabbage and kale (if you can brave it) and one colored vegetable like carrots, peppers, or beets (if you are ok with your pee being pink). Fruits make a great snack and should be eaten 2-3 times a day (instead of eating those left-over Christmas treats from Grandma).
Now for the elephant in the room, fat, use minimal amounts (a teaspoon/person) of vegetable oils to cook food in, try steaming, boiling or baking. Your focus should be in including healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are usually found in salmon, avocados, cheese, yogurt, nuts and peanut butter. A serving of trail mix, or fruit with peanut butter or even yogurt with granola, make good healthy filling snacks for both kids and adults.
Related Article: Fat, Carbs, Protein And Recovery. Is There A Silver Bullet?
For busy parents that end up essentially working 13-hour days, meal prepping on the weekend will save you so much time and effort during the busy week. This will also help with those picky eaters, or families with multiple children, that want to eat completely different things for dinner. Also, to make things more interesting, attempt to try a new recipe every week or so.
See, I didn’t make you count or cut out carbs, but I did ask you to add a lot of good wholesome foods to your life. So, if you remember anything from this article let it be, eat green, wholesome, healthy foods, exercise and don’t forget to stay hydrated!
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