Eating Well During the Holidays

by Kelley Johnsen on December 12, 2012

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During the Holidays we tend to make a lot of festive foods and celebration items.  It’s a wonderful time of year to celebrate one another and look forward to what 2013 has to offer.  While celebrating let me try to give you a few tips that will keep down the weight, keep kids healthy and decrease your stress.

First step is to examine your food traditions

No matter if you are new or been working on your food choices all year, you don’t want to blow all your hard work in one month.  When you begin your journey to healthier eating you have to know that events are going to pop up throughout the year like birthdays, football gatherings, socials, parties and the holidays. What will your plan of action be?

Some of you may be planning your event now, or you have started getting the evites to attend one. What will you do to stay away from GMO foods, Additives, Gluten or any other non-food? Take this time to list activities your family does that includes food.

Here you can look at some of the traditional foods you know are likely to be there and make a note to substitute with something healthier to bring. If you don’t you are likely to be caught off guard and have consequences later.

What consequences can happen after one holiday party?

  • Bloating/stomach pain
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Eczema, along with other skin irritations
  • Mood changes, especially in children
  • Non-restful sleep, night tremors and terrors

While this list may seem harsh or exaggerated, I can personally say these things can happen. You might experience one of these effects, all of them or possibly even add a few things to the list. These symptoms are messages being sent from your body.

When we attended a Company Masquerade Christmas Party I ended the night with bloating, gas and experienced a non-restful night of sleep. What was the contributing offender that night? Bread! I eat bread from time to time, but I eat the sprouted, gluten free variety or I make it myself.

That night I enjoyed a delicious salad but when it came time to the main meal, I could not eat it and reached for more bread. My digestion knew something was off and I paid for it later. When I thought I could take one night off of my healthier choice lifestyle I had discomforts.

What are some ideas to be festive & avoid offending foods?

  • Bring healthier choices to the event: sides, desserts, main dishes. This is a great way to share your tasty dishes and let people know healthy foods can be fun and delicious.
  • Take traditional foods and substitute them with healthier ingredients.
  • In my case I should have eaten beforehand and then just enjoyed my salad.
  • Keep items in moderations. This means skipping seconds, pick your one dessert to enjoy and going light on the appetizers.

Having a family agreed plan for the holidays, vacations, gatherings and other outings takes the stress out of what to eat and not to eat. Encourage your spouse and children to be creative in your family solutions.

The plans do not have to start out perfect. This is a journey for better health and we make mistakes along the way. The key is to continually move towards your ultimate goals, happiness and better health.

During the holidays we always love to make treats and Christmas cookies have been a long time tradition. We are doing more gluten-free, sugar-free, GMO-free items.  Here is one of our new favorites, and it tastes delicious!

Cranberry Almond Upside Down Bars (Gluten Free)

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup of raw honey
  • 2 cups raw almonds, toasted, and ground in processor
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250° F. Lightly brush the sides of your 3×6 loaf pans. I made three loaves with the ingredients above. In a small saucepan, heat cranberries over medium heat with 2 tbsp of water. Once the berries start to pop, add in 2 tbsp of honey and mix again. Pour the cranberries evenly into the bottom of the three loaf pans. Set aside.

In another bowl mix almond, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, add 4 tbsp of softened butter and ¼ cup of honey. Mix completely. Add in one egg at a time, mixing until light and fluffy. Once all three eggs are in add in vanilla and mix completely.

Add almond mixture to egg mixture and mix completely. Spoon almond mixture over cranberries and smooth out without disturbing the cranberries as much as possible.

Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Then score sides to come away clean and then flip loaf on to cooling rack. Once completely cooled, you can cut into bars.

Learn More About Having a GMO Free Holiday

Be sure to attend tonight’s Twitter party for the GMO Inside launch, where we’ll be discussing how to have a GMO Free holiday!

Who: @GMOInside
When: Wednesday, December 12th
Time: 8-10pm EST (5-7pm PST)
Hashtag: #GMOInside
Theme: GMO Free Your Holiday

Go RSVP at Mamavation now!

About Kelley Johnsen

As a wife, mom of four, and Certified Nutrition Counselor, I care about my impact on the food choices we make. Everything we eat has a profound effect on our bodies, the environment and our future. We eat not just to satisfy hunger, but to nourish and enrich our lives. Eating and buying clean resources keeps your body and the Earth healthy and thriving.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Ashley Brown
Twitter: ashleybrownhd
December 17, 2012 at 3:23 am

I believe holiday season is the worst in terms of health. As we often end up gaining weight by eating high calorie food. It is important to eat the food of your choice but only in moderation. In this way you will able to enjoy your favorite meal without any worries.

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