How to Survive the Holidays in a Healthy Way

How can you keep from overeating this holiday season?
How can you keep from overeating this holiday season? (iStock photo )

Don't give into temptation this holiday. You can still enjoy yourself and stay healthy with these simple tips from the creators of the Fat Resistance Diet.

Give Yourself the Gift of Health
Holiday parties and shopping can make this the most exciting time of the year. But entertaining, eating out and stress can add unwanted pounds to your waistline.

How did you feel on January 2 last year? If all that extra sugar and fat from holiday treats made you feel stuffed and fatigued, don't let it happen again. Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of health.

Resolve to make this holiday season your healthiest yet, with more energy and vitality. With a few simple steps you can come through the next few weeks looking and feeling your best!

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Survival Tips for the Shopper and Guest

Eating healthier during the holidays calls for some steps that may surprise you:

Grab a Healthy Snack First
If you're eating out, going shopping, or going to a party, grab a healthy snack first. Why? Hunger is a slippery slope on which it's really hard to balance. The scene is pretty familiar: you're famished and you're waiting for a meal at a restaurant; you're at a party or shopping for food. What happens? You eat a basket of rolls, gobble up the hors d'ouvres, grab whatever fast food is handy, or buy more food at the market than you really need.

Plan your day so you eat before you shop and stow a healthy snack in your bag. Healthy snacks include seasonal fruit like apples and pears, vegetables like carrots, radishes, or broccoli florets, a handful of almonds or walnuts, or some plain low-fat yogurt with fruit.

We provide a great list of 100 Calorie Diet Saver snacks in our book The Fat Resistance Diet. When eating out, have a healthy snack before you leave home.

Stock Up With Nutritious Food 
Deprivation does not work. The key to healthy eating is an ample and ready supply of the right foods. The right foods contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, and nutrients like essential fatty acids (EFAs), carotenoids, and bioflavonoids, which have gotten so much attention in the nutrition research literature.

Don't buy foods made with white flour, added sugars (this includes corn syrup), artificial sweeteners, or added fats (especially bad are the hydrogenated vegetable oils—they increase the risk of heart attacks).

Enjoy Healthy Beverages
Keep water or unsweetened fruit juice handy at all times, especially when you're shopping. It prevents dehydration, a problem made worse by coffee. Drinking water can help stave off cravings if they grab you at the wrong moment. A dash of fruit juice turns plain seltzer into a refreshing spritzer.

Healthy Hosting—With Style

Parties don't have to derail your plans to make this the healthiest holiday season ever. There's a cornucopia of nutritious foods that together create a dazzling buffet that feasts the eyes and the palate. The beauty of these foods is that they don't require added sugar, butter, or cream to please.

Healthy eating with all natural foods has become trendy and fashionable. Show off your sense of style by including the latest products, such as pomegranate juice, on your menu.

Nutrition That Will Bowl You Over
Presenting your guests with the following natural treats will help create a warm and nurturing ambiance. Have fun filling your favorite bowls and arranging them for guests:

  • Raw or dry-roasted almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds add minerals like zinc and magnesium.
  • Apples, pears, and pomegranates can make a dramatic centerpiece.
  • Choose dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, cranberries, and dates. Look for the unsweetened variety.

These foods are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, those antioxidants found in plants that make fruit, vegetables, and nuts the healthiest foods you can add to your diet.

Fun Foods for Kids
If you're entertaining kids, you can also try air-popped popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese, carrot sticks with almond butter, frozen banana pops, homemade fruit juice ice pops, or granola chews made with rolled oats, nut butter, raisins, and apple juice concentrate. For lots more kid friendly recipes that parents love, check out Dr. Galland's book Superimmunity for Kids.

Revitalizing Refreshments
Healthy beverages can complement any occasion. Warm apple cider brewed with cinnamon sticks is a cold-weather favorite. Rich ruby pomegranate juice is a fantastic drink for the holidays and is loaded with antioxidants. Carrot juice and tomato juice make refreshing and satisfying before-dinner drinks. Sparkling apple cider makes a great non-alcoholic alternative for New Year's toasts.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday!

Note: This article is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice or counseling, the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, the creation of a physician-patient relationship, or an endorsement, recommendation, or sponsorship of any third party product or service by the sender or the sender's affiliates, agents, employees, or service providers. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

Dr. Leo Galland is a board-certified internist who is internationally recognized as a leader in nutritional medicine. He has written several dozen scientific papers, textbook chapters, and three highly acclaimed popular books, The Fat Resistance Diet, Power Healing and Superimmunity for Kids.

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