It’s the question everybody is asking this time of year: What is your favorite holiday vegetable? Well don’t everyone speak up at once. Celery? Broccoli? Ahhhh, I am simply overwhelmed with magical Christmas warm fuzzies every time I think about cauliflower.
Oh, for real. Who gets excited about Christmas vegetables? Unless it’s a jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. Now we’re talking.
I giggle a little bit when I read magazine articles with encouragement about how to eat healthy during the holiday season. “At holiday parties,” they say, “fill your plate with raw veggies and nuts.” Spendid! Let’s party! Fill me a plate of festive Christmas cucumbers!
It’s not that I disagree with that advice. It’s a very good idea actually – to fill up on the good stuff so that you don’t over-indulge on the bad stuff. But when I think about my favorite Christmas-time foods, the relish tray isn’t at the top of my list. I eat those foods all the time, and praise God for vegetables. But at Christmas parties? Please pass the chocolate covered chocolate with a bowl full of chocolate for dipping purposes.
I kid. I mean, obviously there needs to be some cream cheese with that chocolate. And some chips. With dip. Okay then.
So what is reality, what can we do to stay healthy, and how do we maintain a good balance during this fun filled, food filled season? Here is my chocolate-covered advice:
Save the Treats for Parties
You’ll likely be at plenty of events during the next several weeks that will offer tables laden with sugar. Knowing this, avoid having lots of sugary foods in your own kitchen. Instead, focus on eating plenty of healthy foods at home – yes, I’m talking about vegetables here. Eat salads, eat good protein, blend spinach into your smoothies, eat all kinds of nourishing foods. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll enjoy the party treats so much more.
Sugar is Made to Be Shared
But wait. What if you have goodies in your kitchen because you’re having fun making treats to share with others? Awesome, that’s part of the joy of this season! This gives you the opportunity to take a nibble or two of some of your favorite holiday treats, then package up the rest to give to others.
Make the Sugar Consumption Count
I say, if we’re going to have something sweet and a little bit naughty – for goodness sake we’d better swoon while we’re eating it. Pass over the crumbly boxed cookies, and go for the gooey, decadent, dish of amazingness. Why waste our indulgences on something that is just so-so?
Stop Eating When You’re Full
I think somehow many of us equate holiday time with over-eating. What? So we’re just planning on being gluttonous while throwing reason and self-control out the frosty window? That’s silly. Take small amounts of food, savor each bite, then when you are full, put down your plate. Christmas is more merry when you don’t have indigestion. (<– Someone should totally turn that sentence into a Christmas carol.)
Drink Lots of Water
Do I really need to elaborate on this one? We always need to be sipping on water. Even at Christmas. Just do it.
May each of us enjoy a holiday season that is healthy, balanced, moderate, delicious, and topped with a caramel truffle. I mean artichoke. No, no. I mean truffle. It is Christmas, after all.
What is one of your biggest struggles with staying healthy during Christmas? What would you add to this list as an encouragement to stay healthy and balanced during the holiday season?