5 Simple Tips For A Simply Healthier You This Fall Holiday Season
Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD
Autumn typically means cooler, darker days, busier schedules with school and work, oh, and we can’t forget about all of those holiday parties. When things get busy, to-do lists get longer, calendars fill up and our self-care can slip further and further down our priority list. Thankfully, there are some simple changes to re-prioritize and maintain or even improve your well being.
1. Connect Food and Mood: After eating a meal, think does this make me feel comfortable, give me energy and improve my mood?
- If the answer is no, you need a new comfort food. A great resource is to reach for my Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook, filled with 200 healthy and comforting recipes.
- A good tip to remember is that comfort food is meant to make us feel well, not sick and lethargic. So choose a food that will make you feel content, and increase your energy levels. Be sure to be eating when you are hungry.
2. Think brown for fall: Switch to brown bread and brown grains to get less processed, more wholesome natural fiber in your diet. This is also great for those favorite holiday recipes. Consider swapping white bread for a whole-wheat variety in a stuffing recipe to add more Vitamin B and Vitamin E, plus natural fiber. Or swap all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour in your homemade baked goods. Here are some tips to go brown this holiday season:
- Buy grains in bulk to really save money.
- Be weary of the sugar content: choose grains with no added sugar.
- Hello comfort food: whole grains can make a great comfy side dish. Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and quinoa all make wonderful sides.
3. Warm up! Fat is essential for body temperature regulation. Keep warm this fall and replace saturated fat and trans fat like margarine with heart helpful fats known as MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids). Here are some suggestions to help you stay warm and healthy.
- Choose canola oil or olive oil.
- Spread natural peanut butter rather than butter. (Hint: opt for a brand with minimal ingredients, only peanuts and/or salt is ideal).
- Skip the cheese, avocado please! Swapping avocado for cheese increases your intake of heart-healthy MUFAs, B vitamins and even potassium.
4. Say Goodbye to Calorie Counting: Log hunger and fullness cues in a food log, not calories! This is the best way to learn if you are eating the right amount for you.
- Log food, feelings and behaviors to identify obstacles to self-care and healthy habits.
- Identify if you are eating for physical, emotional or behavioral reasons. Ideally you want to aim to eat for physical reasons.
- If you are always full or just not hungry but find yourself eating, seek alternative comfort or distractions – find a new hobby or fun workout class to distract you. Even better learn to sit with your feelings. They will pass.
5. Carpe Diem!! Last but not least, relish the happy moments this holiday season. We know that the holidays can be stressful and hectic, but they are also a great time to catch up with family and friends. So relax, find positive moments and take deep breaths. You deserve it!