It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No matter what your plans are for the upcoming weeks, there are sure to be fun parties, delicious food, and if you’re lucky, some fresh snow headed your way! Unfortunately this magical time can also bring the gift of stuffy noses, long travel days, and some overindulging. There are ways to prevent our winter woes and fattening festivities by supporting our bodies with good nutrition, here are some how to stay healthy tips!
Start the day by eating breakfast
First of all, start your day off on the right foot with protein and fiber to help support your body. Many people think that they should skip breakfast to save calories for the feasting that will happen later, but this strategy actually works against you. Eating a balanced breakfast is important for kick starting your metabolism to maximize calorie burn throughout the day, but is also crucial for preventing you from overeating at following meals. Eating a nutrient packed breakfast send the message to your body that you can be burning calories instead of saving them. Not to mention a good breakfast helps you feel energized, alert, and ready to exercise…or to face your relatives! See a great fiber packed pancake recipe below!
Support your liver
This time of year tends to take a toll on your liver due to the overindulging of booze, sugar, and processed foods. Your liver is your body’s detoxifying organ, removes waste and toxins from your body, helps you store many nutrients, but is also crucial for creating bile which helps you break down and absorb the nutrients in your food. If your liver is bogged down by all of the holiday binging, you are likely to feel a little sluggish and sick. Eating green leafy vegetables (or GLVs as we call them in the nutrition world) will help support your liver. GLVs are high in nutrients like chlorophyll which can actually neutralize some toxins, support the creation of bile, and ease the burden on the liver. Eat green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, chard, beet greens, arugula, or cabbage raw or lightly steamed for maximum nutritional benefits! If you need a tasty greens recipe, check out the Winter Kale Salad recipe!
Get a good night’s sleep
Did you know you are more likely to overeat when your body isn’t fully rested? Getting a good night’s sleep can be hard during the holidays with late parties to go to and early mornings with kids! Even harder if you are traveling or staying in a bed you don’t usually sleep in! Support your body’s natural sleep rhythms with vitamin B6 and herbal tea! B6 is required to make melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Eating sources of B6 like fish, bananas, and chickpeas, have been found to help improve your ability to sleep. Certain herbal teas can also help induce sleepiness such as; chamomile, lavender, valerian, and lemon balm. If you are having a hard time unwinding at the end of the day, sip some warm herbal tea. Avoid eating high carbohydrate foods, sugar, and caffeine a few hours before retiring to bed as these will stimulate the body and keep you awake.
Know and avoid calorie bombs
Learn which foods are going to be your worst choices; Eggnog, truffles, chips and dip, alcohol, cheese trays, candied nuts, and most hors d’oeuvres are highly caloric while providing little nutrition. Since you never see all of the food at once, it’s hard to exercise portion control and realize how much you’ve actually eaten. Avoid the holiday snacking and stick to eating meals as they usually contain a protein, vegetables or salad as a side, a complex carbohydrate and water as a beverage. It’s easier to find things that will fill you up and satisfy without providing a lot of calories, sugar, or unhealthy fat (like shortening) in an actual meal.
Stock up on flu-fighting foods
You won’t be able to enjoy the holidays if you spend them sick in bed! Make sure you are nourishing your body with foods that support your immune system. The best way to make sure you are getting all of the nutrients you need is to eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables while avoiding processed foods. Nutrient power houses like citrus fruits, spinach, almonds, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, will all provide beneficial nutrients like vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Flavor your foods with garlic, ginger, and nutrient dense bone broths for medicinal benefits. There is also evidence that eating fermented foods like plain yogurt, kimchi, or kefir can help support a healthy gut microbiome which also helps to strengthen your immune system. The take home message is don’t let tempting treats and rich meals push out the more nutritious foods in your diet. Allow yourself some of your favorite foods, but don’t forget to eat your greens, fruits, nuts and seeds!
Supporting your body with the right nutrition will help you feel your best so you can fully enjoy the holidays! Hopefully these recipes inspire you to be a little healthier this season![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]