You know you should follow a healthy diet, even during the holidays. But that deep dish apple pie with vanilla ice cream? It’s calling, no, make that screaming your name.
What do you do?
And let’s not forget all the cookies, candy and other holiday goodies your children are interested in eating. To make matters worse, it isn’t just coming at you from home, but at work, from friends and neighbors (all well-meaning) and at family get-togethers.
Your children are not immune, either. They are tempted at school, too. After all, ‘tis the season, right?
First, know it’s OK to give yourself permission to indulge a little. That means a small serving of pie, not the whole pie, and not every day. It means one or two cookies, not the whole batch.
The holidays come around once a year, and to try to deny yourself a holiday treat by force of will power will result in over-eating and bouts of self-recrimination.
Remember, too, you can lead by example. If your children see that you are making healthy choices they will, too. Try to focus on the treats and sweets that are most meaningful to you or that you enjoy the most.
There are a variety of fall and winter vegetables and fruit with which to fill your plate at meal times. One of the many advantages of fruits and vegetables is that they contain fiber and thus are filling. This means you will be satisfied with less food, and be less tempted to reach for sugar and fat-laden options.
There are many root vegetables available this time of year including turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, yams and parsnips, which all taste good roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. A rule of thumb is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables at meal times.
Whole grains are another healthy option to keep the intake of unhealthy fats and sweets at a minimum. Whole grains, as opposed to their refined counterparts, include all the parts of a kernel of grain, which contains all the vitamins and minerals.
In addition to brown rice, farro, quinoa and barley all make excellent holiday side dishes, either alone or in combination. Generally low in fat, but high in fiber and B Vitamins, whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Aim to make at least 50 percent of your daily grain intake whole grains.
In addition to fruits and vegetables (fresh, canned and frozen are all good), and whole grains, remember to choose lean protein options and make dairy choices low-fat or nonfat.
Also, try to keep up your daily physical activity program. Physical activity will not only burn off calories and give you more time with your family and friends during the holiday season, but you will be less likely to overeat if you are outside being active and away from those tempting trays of treats.
By making more healthful choices during the holidays, you and your family can begin the New Year on a healthy note.
Ann Bloom is a nutrition program assistant for the OSU Extension Service in Wallowa County. She can be contacted at 541-426-3143.