How to make healthy meal choices this holiday season
The holidays are a time when we indulge in rich foods. We bake cookies, roast a turkey, fry latkes, enjoy eggnog and much more. It’s also a time of year when there seem to be no rules or restrictions, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Even during the holidays, we can take control of food choices for better health.
Hillary Lauren, nutrition and wellness expert for Regence, offers some tips for how to find balance in your diet, even during the holidays:
- Drink more water: Before a holiday event or sitting down for a meal, drink a full glass of water. This will help your digestion system prepare for food and may also help prevent overeating.
- Prepare snacks in advance: When we wait until we’re hungry to prepare food, we’re more likely to make unhealthy choices. Making snacks ahead of time allows you to eat healthy food even when you're pressed for time. Lauren suggests setting aside one or two days per week to prepare healthy snacks. Wash and cut vegetables like carrots, celery or radishes. Fill zip-top freezer bags with smoothie ingredients to blend. Keep fresh fruit on hand, as well as pickles and olives, for a quick, healthy snack any time.
- Try a meatless meal: Pick a lunch or dinner at least once a week to eat a meatless meal. You can make a hearty salad, vegetable soup, stir fry or pasta dish. Think seasonal and incorporate winter vegetables like roasted squash, raw or cooked root vegetables and hearty greens such as kale or cabbage. Enjoy salad or soup with seeded crackers or multigrain toast to round out the meal.
- Make side dishes the main event: At holiday gatherings, there are often bountiful spreads of food. Find the vegetable side dish and dig in. If you’re not sure what food options will be available, offer to bring a side dish or two that you know will satisfy your hunger and provide a variety of colorful seasonal produce for all to enjoy.
- Ask for support: It can be hard to change your eating habits alone. Ask friends or family to join you in making healthy choices. If they choose not to, ask them to support your decision to make changes. Do your best to respect each other’s choices.
We don't typically think of the holidays as a time to begin a new diet, but doing so now allows you to get a head start on New Year's resolutions while also balancing the influx of holiday indulgence. Healthy eating is an important part of overall health and well-being.
We’re here to help
Another important way to take care of yourself all year is to keep up with your preventive care including annual check-ups, screenings and vaccines. Many diseases can be caught early, and regular visits with your doctor can also reduce the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and other health conditions. Regence members with questions about their health plan benefits can sign in to their account at regence.com or call us using the number on the back of their member ID card.