The holiday season is officially here and with that comes festivities and an abundance of food and drinks. This year many of us are still working from home and large gatherings are on hold until further notice, so company potlucks and holiday parties are off the table but the temptation to indulge still looms. Colavita wholeheartedly believes in the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, but we also know treating yourself in moderation is expected … it’s even encouraged! In this post, we provide you with a few tips you can use to ensure you enjoy all the good food this season has to offer while still keeping your health in check.
Two Out of Three Isn’t Bad!
Whether you eat three square meals a day or break them down into smaller, more frequent meals, the goal is to make sure that most of the food you consume consists of nutritious and filling ingredients. The reasons are twofold. First, if you fill up on healthy foods prior to indulging you’re less likely to overeat those not-so-healthy foods. That means less overeating, less bloat and less post-meal guilt. Secondly, your body performs its best when it gets what it needs and that applies to energy levels, mood and digestion. If you know you’re participating in a Zoom cooking class with your friends complete with wine, rich foods and dessert in the evening, making sure all meals prior are full of leafy greens, good-for-you carbs and lean protein is always a good idea. That way you’re not already laden down from the meals earlier in the day and can thoroughly enjoy yourself.
This tip is similar to the first, but refers to when you’re actually faced with a slew of decadent options and you just want to dive head first into all of them. A good trick is to pile up at least half of your plate with salad and veggies. This forces you to choose your indulgences wisely since there’s no longer an empty canvas for you to pile up with all of those not-so-healthy food options.
When you hear “meal plan,” do you have nightmares of grilled chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli for lunch five days in a row? That’s not what we’re talking about here. Being proactive and taking a few moments at the end of the week to plan out what you want to eat throughout the upcoming week sets you up for success when it comes avoiding excess holiday treats. If you’re still working from home, this helps add a bit of structure and will help curb the temptation to order takeout for lunch and dinner.
We’re an olive oil company, but that doesn’t mean we’re anti-butter. Personally, I love butter, but butter doesn’t love me. With all of the unsaturated fat and the dairy (hello to our lactose-intolerant friends), butter has become less and less of a staple in my refrigerator. While there are plenty of vegan butters on the market, they’re still laden with saturated fats which are the exact opposite of heart healthy. Swapping out butter for extra virgin olive oil in some of your favorite baked goods is super easy and it imparts a flavor that butter could never replicate. The rule of thumb is that if a recipe calls for melted butter, you can substitute it with olive oil but just make sure you follow the appropriate ratio of oil to butter. Baking with olive oil doesn’t make those fudgy brownies miraculously healthy, but it does make indulging on a sweet treat feel a little less guilty.
Ever since the pandemic, it’s become clear that the world is filled with stress cooks and bakers! Sourdough, banana breads and all types of comfort foods filled our social media feeds because with so much more time at home, trips to the kitchen became a lot more frequent. With another holiday season here, stress from holiday shopping and not being able to see your loved ones like in years past means an uptick in cooking, baking and eating will likely be a reality for many. Instead of eating that entire snacking cake by yourself, why not schedule a socially distanced meet-up with an elderly family member and give them your quarantine culinary creations? You get to decompress in the kitchen and someone else gets to reap the benefits. It’s a win-win!
Be Kind to Yourself
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t only apply to physical health, but mental as well. This year has thrown us all many curveballs and we’re all adjusting to this new normal in various ways. If you find yourself grabbing one too many cookies or not eating your daily salad, give yourself a break! It can be difficult to stick to a healthy eating routine under normal circumstances, and this year has made it even more so. This holiday season is probably unlike anything any of us have ever seen before so be kind to yourself during these moments. Everything in moderation is key.