Managing Holiday Meals Healthily
Are you struggling to figure out how to accommodate the special dietary needs of your guests this holiday season? Or are you trying to figure out how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling for the holidays?
Nearly everyone is on a special diet throughout the year. Many people are on a low-calorie diet for weight loss or diabetes control, and a large proportion of individuals are on a low-sodium diet to control blood pressure. Others may be allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or dairy products. Many more are simply trying to fight the battle of the bulge.
While it may be tempting to fall off the wagon just for the holidays, eating poorly for just a few days can wreak havoc on your health. You may gain back those stubborn pounds and regain points on your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Unhealthy food can also disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
So, with everyone’s individual dietary needs, how will you navigate holiday meals this year?
It’s simple: good communication, planning, and flexibility. Communicate with your guests or hosts, plan your food strategy, and always have a Plan B ready when the holidays throw you off track.
The three pillars of health can also support you this holiday season. These three pillars are diet, exercise and the correct Natren probiotic supplement program.
TIPS FOR HOSTING HEALTHY HOLIDAY MEALS
Reach out to your guests and ask if they have any restrictions or strong preferences in food. While you may not be able to cook separate meals for each guest, you can provide some alternatives for those with restrictions and strong preferences.
Offer the meal in a buffet style. This gives your guests control over what they put on their plate. Serve toppings on the side. Use a gravy boat or small sauce bowls so that your guests can decide whether they want gravy or sauce. Offer salad dressings in their original bottles, and put croutons or shredded cheese in containers on the side.
Be sparing on the salt while cooking, but offer salt in shakers. Low-sodium food helps those with heart conditions keep their blood pressure under control.
Let your guests know what time you expect to serve the meal, especially if you plan to eat at an odd time of day. Guests with diabetes may need to eat a small snack between meals or take insulin before the meal.
TIPS FOR EATING HEALTHY HOLIDAY MEALS
Limit your portion sizes, especially portions of fatty, salty or highly processed foods. Eat a healthy snack before arriving at your hosts, so that you will be less tempted to overeat. Drinking a large glass of water also helps.
Chew your food well. One fascinating study found that the simple act of chewing could have profound effects on your physical and mental health. In the study, the author discussed some of the patients he treated at his clinics or in their homes who were unable to walk, were bedridden or unable to feed themselves. The researcher supplied the study participants with well-fitting dentures and taught the patients how to chew again. The patients’ health underwent a “chewing revolution,” and many formerly infirm patients began to walk unassisted, get out of bed, and feed themselves.
Chewing, it seems, stimulates the flow of blood to the head and brain. The boost of oxygen-rich blood to the brain can have positive effects on the entire body. Chewing also excites the senses to improve mental function and sharpness.
Use the 80% Rule from the Blue Zones Study, in which you stop eating when you are 80 percent full.
Maintain your regular exercise routine, whenever possible. Find out if there are any places to walk, run or workout near your hotel or host’s home.
Adjust your probiotics as needed. Holiday meals, travel, stress, and shopping can all disrupt the balance of your digestive tract and overall health. Probiotics help you overcome gastric problems associated with an imbalanced diet. Natren suggests our GASTRO-pH probiotic, it’s convenient and easy to use digestive support and especially great for those with occasional indigestion. You know like the kind you tend to get after you reach for that last holiday cookie. Offered as chewable strawberry wafers, it provides a minimum of 1 billion CFU of Lactobacillus bulgaricus LB-51 super strain in just one serving (2 wafers).
GASTRO-pH is designed with one thing in mind -- the convenience of the user. After all, carrying around a bottle of antacid wherever you go just in case is hardly an option for most people. Slip two chewable wafers into your purse or pocket, we recommend wrapping them in foil or keeping them clean in a small pill box, as you head out for the holidays and you’re all set.
Most of all, take time to appreciate the holiday meals with your friends and family.