Turkey and all the trimmings.... pies, cookies & fudge... parties and family gatherings with bountiful tables of food. The holidays are just around the corner! Many of our traditions involve gathering around the table and eating family favorites. But what if your doctor has recommended you follow a healthier diet? Is there a way to balance the holidays with a healthy lifestyle?
A healthy diet and active lifestyle are your best weapons to fight heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more. It's worth reading labels and paying attention to how you load your plate - even during the holidays - your health depends on it!
Healthy Diet Recommendations
Don't stress over one meal, instead focus on your overall eating pattern for a day or a few days at a time.
Things to include in your diet:
- a variety of fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- low-fat dairy products
- skinless poultry and fish
- nuts and legumes
- non-tropical vegetable oils
Things to limit in your diet:
- saturated fat and trans fat
- red meat
- sugar-sweetened beverages
Talk to your doctor about your calorie requirements and nutrient need. Then adapt the above notes into your diet and personal preference. Examples of health diet plans:
- The Best Life Diet Plan
- The Jenny Craig Diet Plan
- Heart Healthy Diet from the American Heart Association
Tips to stay healthy over the holidays
- Do not skip meals before going to a party. Try to stick to your normal eating routine as much as possible.
- Have a healthy snack ahead of time. This will help you curb your hunger and keep you focused.
- When you arrive, check out the spread of food and alcohol, and make a plan for a few indulgences without going overboard.
- Fill your plate with the good stuff first. That means getting to fruits, vegetables, or salad before the desserts.
- Politely refuse food that you do not want.
- Keep track of how much you drink. Alcohol adds calories to whatever you are eating. Consider drinking water in between.
- Think about that one or two pounds that many people gain over the holidays. If you're going to indulge, cut back on something else to even yourself out.
- Stay active even if you don't have 30-60 minutes for exercise each day. A 15 minute walk is always better that sitting still.
Spotlight on Diabetes and Healthy Diets
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, you are likely concerned with how you should change your diet. You have to make sure your food balances with insulin or other medications you may be taking. Take advantage of diabetes education programs to learn specific suggestions. In general, begin switching to a healthy diet like the ones noted above. Having diabetes does not prevent you from eating and enjoying a variety of food. It does mean focusing on healthy meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. A few tips from the American Diabetes Association to help you visualize your healthy meal:
- Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again you will have three sections on your plate.
- Fill the largest selection with non-starchy vegetables.
- Now in one of the small sections, put grains and starchy foods.
- And then in the other small section, put your protein.
- Add a serving of fruit, a serving of dairy or both as your meal plan allows.
- Choose healthy fats in small amounts for cooking and toppings.
- To complete your meal, add a low-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea or coffee.
Logansport Memorial Health: Diabetes Basics
Diabetes Basics is a small group education class offered monthly at Logansport Memorial Hospital. This class is ideal for someone newly diagnosed with diabetes, but it is also very beneficial for anyone with diabetes who hasn’t had much education about it in the past. Pre-registration for the class is required by calling (574) 753-1339.