Food Agriculture & Nutrition Network of Solano County
Written by Napa State Dietetic Intern, Mallori Rahimnejad
Here we are again with the holiday season upon us! As the weather begins to change to that crispy coolness, the smell of pumpkin spice and cinnamon is beginning to fill the air. It’s such a wonderful time of the year filled with fun, family, fiestas, and of course, food! While enjoying all that this time of year has to offer, it can be a challenge to balance indulgence for the season with healthy habits and self-care. Here I’ll be sharing some simple things you can do to make it through the holiday season with vibrancy and good health!
Beware of the sugar!
Calorie counting isn’t a necessary tool to keep healthy but being mindful of where extra empty calories come from can be helpful! Limiting how much added sugars we consume can be a great place to start! Added sugars are those that are not naturally part of the food and are often found in desserts like cookies and pies, but also in our sweetened beverages and even in our main meals. For example, honey baked ham has 6 grams of added sugar and a sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows can have anywhere from 10 to 30 grams of added sugar! For a bit of perspective, women and children are recommended to limit added sugars to 25 grams per day! That’s equivalent to 6 teaspoons of table sugar! (Men are allowed 36 grams per day or 9 teaspoons) Cutting back on our portions or adding just a little less sugar than a recipe calls for can help lower your risk of being over a healthy weight, heart disease and other chronic illnesses and even help fight off the common cold and flu. Additional calories coming from added sugars can add up quickly any time of the year, but especially during the holidays. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and the next time you’re out shopping and craving a sweet drink try leaving out the whipped cream or ask for one less shot of syrup in that peppermint latte!
We’re lucky to live in an area where the weather allows us to be outdoors during most of the year! Take advantage and keep moving through the winter. Bundle up, find a friend and take a walk, chase your kids or walk your dog, but get those steps in! Not into spending time out in the cold? Pick up some weights, dance around your home or do some indoor yoga. Keeping moving will not only help to balance any excess calories from all of the delicious holiday party food, but it’s also a great way to manage stress, protect your heart and give you increased energy to fully enjoy the holiday season. Click here for some ideas on how to stay active outdoors and in the comfort of your own home!
Don’t get sick!
Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling to snuggle up in a blanket with a cup of hot tea and your favorite Netflix show but nobody wants to be there because they got caught under the weather! Good news - there are several steps you can take to decrease your chances of getting sick!
Keeping your body fueled with proper nutrition will help your immune system to fight back if it does come in contact with infectious bacteria or viruses. Eat the rainbow and load your plate up with colorful fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients to support your health and immune system!
Lastly, be mindful and remember to enjoy the special moments spent with your loved ones and also be aware that while this time of year is joyous for many, it isn’t everyone’s tradition. Let us remember to be sensitive to those who may not celebrate during this time or help to support those who may not have anyone to celebrate with. And always remember to take some time out for YOU because we take much better care of those around us when we take just a little time to care for ourselves!
For more tips on how to stay healthy during this holiday season check out the links below!